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Bugs, Stink


COMMON NAMES:  stink bug, green stink bug

SCIENTIFIC NAME:  Order heteroptera, Family pentatomidae, acrosternum hilare

SIZE:  Adult 1/2" to 5/8"

IDENTIFICATION:  Adult bugs are shield-shaped and brown, gray, or green. Some have brightly colored markings. Nymphs are similar, but smaller and wingless. Eggs are barrel-shaped.

BIO:  Adults overwinter in debris or weeds and emerge in the spring to lay 300 to 500 eggs in clusters on undersides of leaves. Eggs hatch in about a week, and nymphs develop into adults in five weeks. Usually two or more generations a year.

HABITAT:  Beans, peas, cabbage, corn, okra, squash, tomatoes, peach, cotton, soybeans, alfalfa, peaches, citrus, ornamental plants, forage crops, and weeds.

FEEDING HABITS:  Adults and nymphs suck juice from flowers, fruit, seed and leaves. Leaves wilt, turn brown, or have discolored spots. Fruit is scarred and sometimes "cat-faced." pods sometimes drop, and seed can be deformed. Although most are sapsuckers, several species suck the blood of caterpillars, beetles, and other pests.

ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE:  Cosmetic and sometimes serious damage to food crops and ornamental plants.

NATURAL CONTROL:  Parasitic wasps and tachinid flies.

ORGANIC CONTROL:  Hand-pick the bugs and crush the eggs; spray organic pesticides as a last resort. Use plant oil sprays for heavy infestations.

INSIGHT:  All hemiptera insects have stink glands. The spined soldier bug podisus maculiventris is an important natural enemy of the Mexican bean beetle.

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