Stink Bug Invasion: Where do They Come From And do They Bite?

In recent years, you may have noticed disturbing news about stink bug infestation in the United States. You might be wondering why these are occurring rapidly and severely when this problem did not even exist decades ago. Your family and friends are also curious about these pesky creatures, and they are asking if stink bugs bite humans. By reading this article, we hope that you will gain more knowledge about stink bug facts and learn how to control their invasiveness.
What are stink bugs and what are the other common names for these insects? Stink bugs or stink beetles, as you call them, are six-legged insects belonging to the family of Pentatomoidea under the Heteroptera suborder. The scientific names of these bugs describe their distinct characteristics.
How do you describe stink bugs? These insects have plant-piercing mouthparts called proboscis, which they use to feed, by sucking plant fluids on stems and leaves. They also have wings that are toughened at the base. Another distinguishable physical feature of stink bugs is that their five-segmented bodies are protected with a hard covering, protecting them from predators. So why are they called “stink bugs?” It is because they release a stinky smelling liquid from glands in their thorax when they are threatened or attacked by predators.
Where do stink bugs come from? Stink bugs are found in all places in the world, with the exception of extremely hot areas, as well as cold places such as the Arctic and Antarctica. In North America alone, particularly in the United States, there are 250 species of stink bugs. The stink bugs that are native to America do not actually cause harm to people and plants. The truth is that most invasive species of stink bugs in the United States are from Asia. Pest experts believe that these alien pests were accidentally brought into the US in the 1990s, through crates of imported fruits from Asian countries such as Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan. Furthermore, it is assumed that these crates may have contained eggs of these foreign stink bugs. In their new environment, these bugs have no natural predators to control their populations, unlike in their indigenous places of origin. Thus, alien stink bugs multiply rapidly and infest homes, gardens, and fields in their new places.
What are the most invasive species of stink bugs in the United States? There are two types of these pests. The first is the brown marmorated stink bug with the scientific name Halyomorpha halys. It is originally from Japan and China, and has a distinctive brown-colored body. This bug is considered an agricultural pest because it breeds in large colonies and feeds on plant juices. It alights on plants and uses its proboscis (mouthparts) to suck plant fluids, particularly on leaves and fruits. Vegetable crops often are favorite sources of food for this insect. The second most invasive bug is the green stink bug, which is also from Asian countries such as Japan, China, and Taiwan. They particularly infest fruit-bearing tree crops such as orange, cherry, and apple trees. They also invade gardens, and infestation is often discovered late because they are not usually noticed due to their green camouflage color.
What are the most identifiable characteristics and habits of these bugs? Brown marmorated stink bugs are known for their habit of hibernating or hiding in houses and man-made structures during winter. In springtime, they go out and infest plants to feed, to mate, and to lay eggs. Green stink bugs hibernate inside tree trunks, branches, and other parts of plants during winter. They go out from their hiding places in spring and feed on plant juices. Like brown marmorated stink bugs, the green species also breed during springtime.
Do stink bugs bite? Yes. Stink bugs bite humans if they are handled with bare hands. Their bite may not as painful as that of a bee or wasp, but it is quite painful and uncomfortable. They use their sucking mouthparts called proboscis to bite people. Thus, it is important to wear protective thick gloves when handling stink bugs, such as when you dispose these live insects from your traps.
What are the most effective ways to prevent stink bug invasions? Sealing homes and gardens, using multiple methods of bug elimination, and researching in-depth information regarding these stink bugs are the best ways to win the fight against these pesky insects. It is also essential to take note of the proper use of chemical pesticides to avoid accidental poisoning of humans and pets, as well as to avoid pest resistance or immunity to these chemicals.

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