Stink bugs belong to the family Pentatomidae, and about 260 species are found in the United States and Canada. There are several species found in homes and a few are considered a threat to crops. Additionally, one type, the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), is considered an invasive species. Stink bug behavior is an area that scientists are still researching, but if you are wondering, "what do stink bugs do," here are a few things you need to know about these insects.

A seasonal bother

Stink bugs, for the most part, are active from May to October, and depending on where you live, you might not even know they are there. Some species are predatory, but most eat various types of plants. Because of this, they are often found in agricultural areas or in gardens and parks. Certain types of stink bugs are considered beneficial, while others are considered nuisances to agriculture and, in some cases, homeowners.

Stink bugs are active through multiple crop seasons. They eat from the outside inwards, which is why you will likely find signs of them on the plants along the edges of your garden, before you see them on interior plants.

A question of behavior

Stink bugs get their moniker from the fact that if you disturb or grab most species of stink bugs, they will emit a sickly sweet smell. Certain types of stink bugs can also emit a nasty-smelling liquid when threatened to deter predators.

Stink bug behavior for females often includes guarding their eggs, which are barrel-shaped and laid in groups called clutches. Courtship rituals may also draw these bugs into the open, as will their need to find a warm location to overwinter. It is often hard to see stink bugs, however, as most species are dusky shades of brown or green and blend into the leaf litter or ground cover.

A preventable problem

Stink bugs found inside your home are most likely the invasive BMSBs, which have a tendency to enter houses and overwinter in groups. While they do not typically cause damage, they will emit a nasty smell when disturbed and you do not want your home to be their stopover. To prevent their entry, make sure that doors, windows and other openings are properly sealed or caulked. However, once inside your home, it is a different story. Stink bugs are often resistant to common insecticides, so it is best to call a pest management professional if you have a problem with these insects.

What do stink bugs do when Terminix® is around? They pack up and get lost. Call today for your free pest estimate.

Stink Bug Behavior Resources