Bugs Are Gross Enough, Never Mind When They Stink


Stink Bugs are one of the most irritating bugs we have to deal with here in Tennessee. The most annoying part about them is that they shouldn't even be here in the first place! The stink bug was accidentally introduced into the United States in 1998. After this bug was accidentally brought here, and since then has not only been plaguing regular people in their homes, but even more, they have been destroying farms and the crops they are trying to grow. These pesky bugs are about a half an inch long, and almost as wide as they are long. They are shaped almost like a shield. The main color of their bodies is brown, with different shades of grey, white, black, copper, and bluish markings.

Stink Bugs are a sucking insect. Just like the Chigger that we have written about before, the stink bug is a sucking insect. Unlike the chigger though, it does not suck blood. It feeds on plants! By their feeding on these plans, they cause dimples on the surfaces of fruits and vegetables, leaves falling off, seed loss, and even the transmission of plant diseases. These bugs are extremely damaging to farmers because of the damage they are able to do to plants. Although they cause extreme damage to farmers, they also are an extremely irritating bug to homeowners as well. Stink Bugs begin to enter the home around the fall. The reason they want to come indoors in the fall is because the cold weather will kill them, and they know it! According to the Journal of Entomological Science, there was one home found with over 26,000 stink bugs in it. Talk about an infestation! Adult stink bugs can live for about a year. They enter the home from just about anywhere you can imagine. Even the tiniest crevice is small enough for them to enter. Once they are inside the house they will enter a stage of hibernation while they wait for the winter to pass. Although they are hibernating for winter to end, because the house is warm inside sometimes their bodies lose track of what season it is, causing extremely early awakenings! This causes them to wake up before they are ready, and because they are woken up to early, they often will fly around very clumsily around the home.

So, what causes the stink bug to stink? It is because of a chemical in the bug called trans-2-decenal and trans-2-Octenal. These chemicals cause a very pungent odor that smells like coriander. The Stink Bug emits this odor as a part of its defense to prevent it from being eaten by predators like birds and lizards. It releases this odor from tiny holes it has in its abdomen. Some people believe they will only stink if you crush them, but as we have just learned, while they do stink if you crush them, they also will release this odor as a defensive mechanism.

The Stink Bug also has a very interesting mating ritual as well. During their courtship, the male emits a pheromone to communicate with the female. It also, unlike any other bug, emits a vibration which can be heard by the other females. The female then responds to this communication by sending out a vibrational signal as well. The Stink Bugs use these signals to recognize and locate each other.