Stink bugs are predominantly an outdoor pest. It is important to note that stink bugs are polyphagous, which means that they eat off of a wide variety of plants and some eat other insects. Because of this, it can be hard to identify specific types of plants when looking at what stink bugs eat.


Stink bugs are often found in agricultural areas, gardens or other cultivated places. Depending on the species, they may be found on ornamental plants, vegetables, crops or fruits. They will eat both the flowers and buds of the following plants, as well as any seeds or fruits.

Common types of plants that attract stink bugs include grasses and weeds, corn and other grains, peach trees, soybeans, peanuts and pecan trees.

Ornamental plants that pique their interest include Eastern redbud, holly and mimosa, and they are often found on fruit trees including peach, apple and pear.

If you garden, you are likely to see them on sunflowers, berries, peppers and tomatoes. They may also snack on your beans, eggplants or okra.

Stink bugs follow crop seasons, so they will start out on host plants that are grasses and weeds, move to fruit trees and ornamental plants and ultimately end up in your garden. Signs that stink bugs have nibbled on your plants will include pinprick holes that may have a cloudy area below them; shriveled or deformed seeds or fruits; and dark, bitter-tasting spots inside nuts such as pecans.

While most types of stink bugs chow down on plants, there are a few that are predatory. These species prey on other insects, and are considered beneficial by many gardeners because of this. Predatory stink bugs will eat the eggs, larvae, nymphs and adults of more than 100 other species of insects. Both stink bug nymphs and adults hunt down other insects.


It may surprise you to learn that indoors, stink bugs do not typically eat anything. Stink bugs found inside your home will be looking for somewhere to overwinter. While overwintering, they do not eat, and will most likely look for warm, dark places to hide in until warmer weather returns. The most common type of stink bug found inside homes is the invasive brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB). These insects were accidentally imported from Asia, and are a growing cause for concern amongst farmers and gardeners. BMSBs tend to be found entering homes in groups when the weather turns cooler, and as with other species of stink bugs, are resistant to some insecticides.

Now that you know what stink bugs eat, you can start looking for the telltale signs of their presence around your home or garden. If you start seeing these pests and want them gone, call Terminix®.