Brown Stink Bug Plague

The Brown Marmorated Asian Soldier Shield Stink Bug

Kingdom: Animal

Phylum: Arthropods

Class: Insect

Insect Order: Hemiptera

Family: Pentatomidae

Genus: Halyomorpha

Species: Halys



“The Dreaded Brown Stink Bug”

For 4 years now, the Brown Stink Bug has infested many of our homes in the metropolitan DC area. Some comfort can be gleaned from knowing we are not alone, they do not attack humans, they do not eat everything, they can be killed, and they are not poisonous. Never-the-less these pests are awful nuisances due to their over-population, ability to get into houses, and tendency to release foul odor anytime they are alive and when they die. This odor is not just unpleasant for humans, but it acts as a odoriferous beacon to other brown stink bugs.

Brown stink bugs are hemiptera (half-wing) insects. Like the Nezara viridula or Acrosternum hilare (two varieties of Green Stink Bug), it is plant-seed feeding. Both green and brown stink bugs are in the same Family of Pentatomidae Hemiptera. Why are the indigenous green stink bugs not invading us in our homes? The green stink bug is very easy to control with pyrethroids, Orthene, Bidrin, methyl parathion and Vydate. The brown stink bugs seem to be more resistant to our pesticides. The green ones came from Africa hundreds of years ago, and the brown ones are from Asia. Both were stowaways in crates.

Brown Stink Bugs lay eggs on the underside of plant leaves. They love to reproduce on Soybean plants, and those are more common than ever before. The practice of bringing plants inside during the winter worsens the epidemic, as eggs can be already laid on the plants while they were outside. They lay masses of 10-100, barrel-shaped compact eggs.

Stink bugs are susceptible to insecticides that were used to spray boll weevils. From the success of boll weevil eradication, Bt cotton and the use of more selective insecticides for plant bugs, we’ve opened a window for other resilient bugs like brown stink bugs. DDT would do the trick, but it’s all a question of how willing we are to poison ourselves in the process.

Expert exterminators recommend a mixed approach to defending against bug problems. I will recommend an approach as non-toxic as I can.

1. Clean and caulk around windows and places they might have gotten into the house

2. Spray Frebreeze de-odorizer on surfaces

3. If more bugs come, try to gently collect them and toss them outside (so they wont fearfully spray their stink, or release it from dying inside). This does not work that well on numerous bugs, as they can leave a scent behind on anything they land on. Killing them immediately may be the better solution, considering each one is a potential breeder, and if released is free to spray more. Once you kill them, clean up after them!

4. Continue the first three steps with patience. If one generation of bugs is released in a house, it will be years before extermination will have any affect. More bugs will continue to want entrance to the house because of the mass odor from the last batch. Also they seek warmth inside any structure.

They have invaded historic homes, as well as new homes. They can enter air conditioning units, not just cracks in siding or open doors or windows. There is no quick fix to an invasion. Even praying mantis don’t like them.


14 Responses to “Brown Stink Bug Plague”

  1. God I hate these bugs. They made a freaky buzzing sound when flying and it sends chills down my spine.

  2. Die Die Die!

  3. Spizerinktum Says:

    I have been gathering them in a jar, just put the jar under them move it up and they fly right in, put the jar in the freezer for a half hour , no more stink bug and no oder on your hand.

  4. For anyone else who is dealing with this epidemic, I learned that natural lavender actually repels the bugs. They supposedly do not like the scent of lavender, garlic, thyme, and mint. Thus far, the only thing that has worked to get them away from my home is lavender. I tried Garlic and Mint, but to no avail. It isn’t full proof, but it will keep them out of your house!

    • Thank you Samantha for your herbal info. Lately I have been gently collecting them alive with my hands when i see them, and putting them in a pot of soap water. I can eliminate dozens each day I do this, without them releasing much odor. Even when the pot is full, the water can be stirred and the soap bubbles prevent their escape.

  5. Thank you for information! I see them more and more around the house.

  6. Brown Stink Bug Plague is really very good post……great work ………..
    I like it very much……. very very useful………
    we have to control these Brown Stink Bug …………

  7. Are stink bugs literally driving you insane? Are they invading your home, covering every window, coming out of the walls and crawling around in your cutlery drawer? If the answer is yes, then read on, as this will most likely be the most important message you read today.

    If your home is invaded and covered every window and corner of the house with miserables stink bugs , i know the solution for you, just follow this link and your problems will dissapear forever. I hope i was useful for you and your house.

  8. I’ll try the lavendar and the jar (interesting!!) – and skip the $27 ebook by thjazi above. I first saw stink bugs in the winter of 2008 in Williamsburg, Virginia. They mostly crawled out of my book boxes that were stored for a year. Now they fly around and stick to my hair. I smell them when I get dressed because one nestled in my pants. Or their scent wakes me up, because I must have turned around and… I have had enough of them, but it’s good to know I am not the only one 🙂

    • Thanks Ugh, yes the Lavendar and herbal smells make sense. It seems that regardless of other properties, any smell that is strong enough to cover the Stink Bug smell will hinder the ability of more Stink Bugs to follow the previous ones by odor (which is part of the reason for where they go). If it actually repels them, then herbs could also remedy the other part of why the bugs are in our houses, and that is warmth and shelter, regardless if they are the first bug or not to enter.

  9. Maulratt Says:

    I will be planting more lavender around the house and garden this year and harvesting some to put in each room. I realized this morning that the only room not infested with stink bugs this year was one small bathroom that contained a jar full of dried lavender. A couple of suggestions that help a bit. Borax in washing water seems to kill their scent and maybe even keep them from moving back into an area. Old style Boraxo hand soap (powder) gets it off your hands. Fill a jar with a inch or two of water and dribble a little bit of dish soap in it–instant, effective, inexpensive killing jar. Throw 6 cloves into your vacuum bag–it cuts the odor of the stink bugs. I live in a 250 year old house. I can’t find all the cracks and they seem to find the ones I miss. I’m desperate–last night was a nightmare with warm weather and stink bugs on the loose, my allergies are worse, my house is crawling and I raise fruit and vegetables for market! My neighbors are orchardists and they’re really going nuts…

    • Maulratt, thank you for your detailed account of your 250 yrold house! Great to hear about the Lavender. I agree about the soap, and can say our neighborhood in the Shire is experiencing the same invasions by these brown bugs.

  10. stinkoterminator Says:

    a spray called ortho home defense max bedbug killer works but not instantly. It takes a few minutes but it finally kills them. I bougt it at Lowes for $7.00 per can

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