The invasive brown marmorated stink bug has become a serious household pest in the eastern United States since it was discovered in the country nearly 15 years ago. These pests damage numerous plant species and cause nuisance infestations within homes. Infestations can be hard to eradicate in some cases due to the incredibly high amount of specimens that seek refuge indoors during the fall season. Stink bugs are known for infesting baseboards and wall-voids where pest control professionals often have difficulty accessing the pests. In addition to their large nuisance numbers, brown marmorated stink bugs have also become well known for the foul-smelling odors that they emit when threatened or when they are crushed. When infestations plague homes, so does the insect’s smell in some cases. However, the brown marmorated stink bug is not the only stink bug pest in the northeast that emits a foul-smelling defensive fluid, as a large number of true bug species, including native stink bugs, emit foul odors.

Another invasive insect that has become a nuisance in eastern homes is the Asian lady beetle species. This pest also emits a foul-odor, but infestations must be heavy for their smell to become a problem within a home. Several predatory stink bug species in the northeast may emit odorous fluids in self defense, but most of these native species are not considered pests within homes or gardens; instead, most native stink bugs are considered a benefit in the garden due to their habit of preying on plant-damaging insect pests. This is not the case for the C. hilaris species, or the “green stink bug” as it is better known. The green stink bug is a common garden pest that resembles a large pea, and their infestations can become so numerous in backyard gardens that multiple insecticides must be used in some cases to eradicate the pests before they damage plants. Although these insects can damage gardens quickly when they become abundant, many gardeners know to leave these insects be until a pest control professional arrives, as the odor of this species’ defensive secretions is particularly acrid.

Have you ever spotted a large mass of insect pests in your garden?