Stink Bugs - Family Pentatomidae
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Stink bugs get their common name from the foul-smelling fluids they exude when disturbed.
Live adults, nymphs, and eggs photographed in the wild at northern Illinois and Florida.
Predatory Stink Bug
Predatory Stinkbug - Apateticus lineolatus
Stink Bugs are shield-shaped bugs with 5-segmented antennae; large, triangular scutellum; head relatively small and often "tucked into" a concavity in anterior margin of pronotum; ocelli present. Body (as viewed from above) divided into 5 sections: pronotum, scutellum, two basal leathery portions of hemelytra [one on each side of the scutellum], and two apical membranous portions of hemelytra that completely overlap and act like a single section [1].

Several species of insects that feed on peaches and other fruits early in the growing season cause a gnarling and distortion of the fruits called catfacing. Plant bugs and stink bugs, called catfacing insects are largely responsible for this type of injury. They suck the sap from the fruit. If the peaches do not fall as a result of this attack, fruit development is inhibited in the area of the punctures. The surrounding healthy tissue continues to grow thereby causing a defect resembling a cat's face. The green stink bug, Acrosternum hilare, and brown stink bug are two culprits.

Stink bug eggs on underside of maple tree leaf
Stink bug eggs on underside of maple tree leaf. Each egg is just 1mm in diameter (about .04 inch).
Stink bugs feed on developing seed of many hosts including trees, shrubs, vines, weeds and many cultivated crops. They may also feed on the stems and foliage when seed are not present. Both nymph and adult stink bugs pierce plants with their needlelike mouthparts and suck sap from pods, buds, blossoms and seeds. The degree of damage depends on the developmental stage of the plant when it is attacked. Immature fruit and pods become deformed as they develop. Seeds are often flattened and shriveled. Germination can be reduced, or the seeds may fail to germinate at all.

The family name, Pentatomidae, comes from the Greek "pente" (five) + "tomos" (a section); perhaps a reference to the 5-segmented antennae, or perhaps a reference to the body, which, when viewed from above, appears to be divided into 5 large sections. The scutellum is the largest section.

Stink bugs characteristically deposit their eggs on the underside of leaves in clusters with tight rows of individual barrel-shaped eggs. After overwintering, adult females seek out suitable hosts in early spring and deposit their eggs on host plants. Often these overwintering populations are found along field borders, particularly along tree lines near their overwintering sites.

Later-developing cultivated plants become more attractive when these initial wild hosts dry down, and their proximity allows easy access for stink bug colonization in crops. Shortly after egg deposition and hatching, emerging nymphs are gregarious in habit and remain on or near the egg mass. As they develop, they begin to feed and disperse.

Shield bug nymphs and eggs, family Scutellaridae. To survive, shield bugs require a supply of bacteria which they store in intestinal pouches, and use to help digest their food. The nymphs obtain a lifetime supply from deposits made on the eggs by their mother. [3]

Stink bugs feed on many varieties of plants, including native and ornamental trees, shrubs, vines, weeds, and many cultivated crops. Stink bugs inflict mechanical injury to the seed as well as transmit the yeast-spot disease organism. The degree of damage caused by this pest depends to some extent on the developmental stage of the seed when it is pierced by the stink bug's needlelike mouthparts. The younger the seed when damaged, the greater the yield reduction. [2]


Brown Stink Bug
Stinkbug Nymph - Euschistus tristigmus luridus
Stinkbug Nymph

Dusky Stinkbug Nymph
Stink Bug
Twice-Stabbed Stinkbug
shield bug
Shield Bug
Brown Stink Bug
Brown Stink Bug
Green Stink Bug
Green Stink Bug
Stink Bug
 Menecles insertus
Stink Bug
Amaurochrous brevitylus
References
  1. Bugguide.net Family Pentatomidae Troy Bartlett, et al
  2. North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension Stink Bugs 
  3. Line, Les. The Audubon Society Book of Insects. Harry N Abrams, 1983.
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Order Hemiptera: True Bugs number almost 5,000 species in North America, and 40,000 worldwide. They have mouthparts formed into a beak, adapted for sucking plant juices or the liquefied insides of their animal prey.
Suborder Auchenorrhyncha - Cicadas & Planthoppers
Suborder Sternorrhyncha - Aphids, scales, mealybugs, jumping plant lice
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