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.