Can Stink Bugs Bite People?

There are enough biting insects out there without having to worry about stink bug bites, but unfortunately, you may have to. Depending on the species, stink bugs bite when they are handled and feel threatened. The good news is that most species of stink bugs do not bite. For questions such as ‟do stink bugs bite,” the following answers will help clear up any confusion.

Do stink bugs bite people?

Stink bugs can bite people depending on the species. Some species, such as the brown marmorated stink bug, are physically incapable of biting humans. These stink bugs feed on the juices of leaves, stems, fruits, nuts and seeds. Their sole defense mechanism is the odor that comes from chemicals secreted through glands on their abdomen. This odor is thought to help keep predators away.

What types of stink bugs bite?

The types of stink bugs that may bite people are predator stink bugs (with a few exceptions, such as the kudzu bug, Megacopta cribraria, which feeds on plants but can bite humans). These predator species are actually beneficial to the environment, eating harmful pests in gardens, farms and orchards. They feed on caterpillars, other stink bugs and crop-specific pests such as the Mexican bean beetle and the Colorado potato beetle. If provoked, these stink bugs can inflict a harmless, but painful, bite. A stink bug’s bite has not been shown to cause or transmit any diseases or parasites, though it can result in a raised welt.

Can stink bugs cause any other type of bodily harm?

According to the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, stink bugs have been shown to cause an allergic reaction in certain people who might be sensitive to the foul aeroallergen these bugs secrete. These chemicals come from the dorsal scent glands and can cause conjunctivitis, rhinitis or both. When stink bugs are crushed, if the bug’s fluids or chemicals come into contact with skin, dermatitis can occur.

How can I tell which stink bugs bite and which don’t?

Aside from learning how to tell approximately 260 species of stink bugs apart, the best way to avoid a stink bug bite is to not handle any of them. Preventing stink bugs from entering your home by sealing up points of entry is the best way to do this for most. For active gardeners and other agricultural workers, contact with bugs might be harder to avoid.

Don’t put up with stink bug bites or their smell. Call Terminix® if you have any bugs in your home and get your free pest estimate today.