What’s in a name – do stink bugs stink?

If you’ve ever had them in your home, you already know that stink bugs smell. And even if you haven’t taken a whiff of that putrid stink bug smell, you probably already know it isn’t going to be pleasant by the bug’s name alone. So, what do stink bugs smell like? The answer is a bit complicated.

Understand the glands

Stink bugs emit an odor when they feel threatened. This threat can be real or perceived. The odor is caused by chemicals released from the bug’s abdominal glands. Some species of stink bugs can spray these chemicals a few inches away from their body. These factors have led scientists to believe that the stink bug smell is their main defense mechanism against predators.

A specious species

There are approximately 260 species of stink bugs and some of them are brightly colored. This makes them attractive to predators. The smell they emit can differ according to the species, so not every stink bug odor will be alike. Further, since humans experience and interpret smells differently, the way one person describes a stink bug’s odor varies from the next. This makes the exact stink bug smell description hard to pin down.

Descriptive smells

The smell of a stink bug has been described in many ways. Some think it smells like a skunk. Others say it smells like burnt tires. Some swear it reminds them of cilantro, a pungent herb used in Latin American cuisine. Stink bug odors have also been described as oily, dusty, woody and earthy – it really depends on the species and the person.

In other words, if you ask a few different people ‟what do stink bugs smell like," you’re likely to get different answers. But if you ask Terminix® how to get rid of stink bugs, the only answer you’ll get is the right one. Call today for your free pest estimate and don’t let stink bugs put the stink on you.