Is a Stink Bug a Beetle? The Truth You Need to Know!

Insects are a vast category that includes various types of bugs and beetles; however, differentiating between the two can be a tricky task, especially when they have a lot of similarities. One such pair that is often confused with each other are stink bugs and beetles. Although there are a lot of similarities between the two, they aren’t the same. In this article, we’ll be exploring in detail “Is a Stink Bug a Beetle,” and the truth that you need to know!

What Are Stink Bugs, and What Do They Look Like?

Stink bugs are brown or greenish insects that have a shield-like shaped body. They are approximately ¾ inches in length and can sometimes grow up to 1.8 inches. Stink bugs are called as such because of the unpleasant odor that they emit whenever they feel threatened, disturbed or crushed. Their mouthparts are designed for piercing and sucking, and they feed on different plants, including vegetables, herbs, and fruits. These pests are often found in gardens, orchards, and near crops.

The Different Types of Stink Bugs

There are around 260 different species of stinkbugs worldwide. Some of the common varieties found in the United States include:

  • The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
  • The Southern Green Stink Bug
  • The Two-Spotted Stink Bug

What Are Beetles, and What Do They Look Like?

Beetles are a type of insect that belongs to the Coleoptera order. They are found in almost every part of the world and are one of the most diverse groups of living organisms, containing over 400,000 different species. Beetles have a hard outer shell that provides them with protection. They have two pairs of wings, one hard wing that covers their back and a second delicate pair of wings used for flying. Beetles also have biting mouthparts and feed on various materials such as plants, other insects, and dead animals.

The Different Types of Beetles

Beetles can be differentiated from each other based on their size, shape, and color. There are around 30,000 species of beetles found in the United States alone, and some of the common varieties include:

  • The Stag Beetles
  • The Goliath Beetles
  • The Ground Beetles

Stink Bugs vs. Beetles: The Key Differences

Although both stink bugs and beetles are different insects, there are a few similarities between them that make it difficult to differentiate them from each other at first glance. Here are a few key differences between the two:

Body Shape

The most significant difference between the two insects is their body shape. Stink bugs have a shield-like body shape, while beetles have a more elongated oval-shaped body.


Beetles have two pairs of wings, with one partial pair that can fly, while stink bugs have one pair of wings that are a uniform shape and do not have any specialized modifications to allow them to fly.


Beetles have strong jaws that are designed for biting, tearing and chewing material. Stink Bugs, on the other hand, have a long, pointed, needle-like structure called a proboscis, which is designed for piercing and sucking liquids, particularly plant juices.

Feeding Habits

While both stinkbugs and beetles feed on plants, there are a few differences in their feeding habits. Stink bugs primarily pierce and feed on the sap of plants, while beetles feed on the foliage and stems of plants.

Why Do People Think Stink Bugs are Beetles?

Even though stink bugs are neither beetles nor closely related to them, they share several of the same features that beetles possess. Both insects have a hard exoskeleton, wings, and several body segments. Additionally, both insects come in a range of sizes and brownish green colors. These similarities have generated confusion, making some people believe that stink bugs are beetles.


In conclusion, while stink bugs and beetles may resemble each other, they are two different types of insects belonging to different orders. Although stink bugs have a shield-like body and hard exoskeleton like beetles, they don’t have modified wing covers, biting mouthparts, or other distinct beetle characteristics. Knowing the difference between the two insects is essential in dealing with the pests in your garden, home, or environment.


Q: Are stink bugs and beetles the same thing?

A: No, stink bugs and beetles are not the same thing. Although they share some similarities like their hard exoskeleton and segmented body, they belong to different insect orders and have significant differences in physical characteristics, feeding habits, and behavior.

Q: Can stink bugs fly?

A: Stink bugs have wings, but they are not strong fliers. Their wings allow them to glide for short distances, and they usually fly poorly.

Q: What plants do stink bugs feed on?

A: Stink bugs feed on a wide range of plants like vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes. Their feeding habits can cause significant economic damage to crops, and they are considered pests.

Q: Are stink bugs harmful to humans?

A: While stink bugs are not harmful to humans, they can produce an unpleasant odor when they feel threatened or are crushed, and this odor can be difficult to eliminate.

Q: How do I get rid of stink bugs?

A: There are different methods to control stink bug infestations, including vacuuming, trapping, insecticides, and exclusion methods like the use of screens, caulk, and weather stripping to seal off entry points into your home or garden. It’s best to seek professional advice and assistance in treating severe infestations.


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