What Makes Stink Bugs Stink: The Smelly Truth

Stink bugs are a common household pest that can be stinky and pesky. They belong to the family Pentatomidae and are found in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. These bugs can emit a strong, unpleasant odor when disturbed or crushed. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind the stench of stink bugs and what you can do if they invade your home.

Why do stink bugs stink?

The unsettling aroma emitted by stink bugs is produced by their defensive glands. These glands secrete chemicals known as aldehydes, which are responsible for the potent odor. The pungent smell can linger for hours and can be challenging to remove, making these bugs a troublesome pest for homeowners.

What purpose does the smell serve?

Stink bugs use their odor as a defense mechanism to deter predators. When under threat, they release the unpleasant aroma to discourage predators from attacking. The smell is a warning signal that the bug is not to be messed with, and predators will think twice before attacking.

How to Identify Stink Bugs

Stink bugs are approximately 1.5 centimeters in length and have a mottled brown or greenish color. They have a distinctive shield-shaped body and six legs. Their antennae are long and segmented, and their mouthparts are designed for piercing and sucking. These bugs are often mistaken for beetles, but their shape and color are relatively different.

Where are stink bugs found?

Stink bugs are usually found outdoors and feed on crops, fruits, and vegetables. As the weather cools, they begin to seek shelter inside homes, where they can become a nuisance. They can enter through cracks and gaps in doors, windows, and foundations, making it challenging to keep them out.

Why are Stink Bugs a Pest?

Stink bugs can be a nuisance pest for homeowners because of the unpleasant odor they produce when threatened. They can come in large numbers and are known to invade homes during the fall season, seeking warmth and shelter. These bugs can feed on fruits and vegetables, causing damage to crops and gardens.

Can stink bugs cause harm?

Although stink bugs are not known to bite or sting, they can cause allergic reactions in some people. People who are allergic to the chemicals emitted by stink bugs may experience skin rashes, hay fever, and asthma symptoms. Therefore it is best to avoid handling these bugs without gloves.

How to Deal with Stink Bugs

If you find stink bugs in your home, there are several things you can do to get rid of them:

  • Seal all potential entry points in your home, such as cracks and gaps in doors, windows, and foundations.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner to remove stink bugs from walls, ceilings, and other vertical surfaces.
  • Dispose of captured bugs in a plastic bag and discard them outside your home.
  • Use sticky traps and lures to catch stink bugs.
  • Contact a pest control professional if you have a severe infestation that you cannot control.

How to prevent stink bugs from invading your home

The best way to prevent stink bugs from invading your home is to seal all potential entry points. Check for cracks and gaps in doors, windows, and foundations, and use caulk, sealant, or weather stripping to fill the gaps. Repair any damage to your home and install screens on windows and doors. Ensure that your vents have screens to prevent bugs from entering your home through air circulation systems.


Stink bugs may seem like a harmless pest, but their pungent odor can be challenging to get rid of, making their presence highly undesirable. These bugs use their unpleasant aroma as a defense mechanism to deter predators, making them tough to get rid of. Preventing stink bugs from entering your home is the most effective way to deal with them, so seal all entry points and contact a pest control professional if the infestation gets out of control.

FAQs About Stink Bugs

Q: Do stink bugs bite?

A: No, stink bugs do not bite or sting humans. They are considered harmless.

Q: How long do stink bugs live?

A: Stink bugs can live up to six to eight months.

Q: Can stink bugs damage your home?

A: Stink bugs do not cause physical damage to your home. However, they can leave behind an unpleasant odor that can be challenging to remove.

Q: Are stink bugs attracted to light?

A: Yes, stink bugs are attracted to light, which can make them enter your home via windows at night.

Q: Can stink bugs be eaten?

A: Yes, stink bugs are eaten in some cultures and are considered a delicacy. However, it is not recommended to consume stink bugs found in your homes as they may be harmful due to the chemicals they produce.

Q: How to get rid of stink bugs in the garden?

A: To get rid of stink bugs in the garden, you can use insecticidal soap or neem oil spray. You can also place sticky traps near the plants.


  • https://www.pestworld.org/pest-guide/occasional-invaders/stink-bugs/
  • https://www.mnn.com/your-home/at-home/blogs/how-save-home-stink-bugs-infestation
  • https://www.thespruce.com/stink-bug-control-2656447

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