When stink bugs are frightened or disturbed, they emit an odor from their glands in their thorax. They are called stink bugs simply because they stink. These bugs can be found in fields, yards and gardens, and at times they can also be found indoors such as in homes, offices, building and hotels. While there are around 221 species of stink bugs, their life cycle is almost the same.
Knowing the Stink Bug Life Cycle
Waking up from hibernation. It is during winter that these bugs wake up from their hibernation beneath the earth or leaf litter. During spring, these bugs look for food. In most cases, when the female bug comes out, she is carrying eggs with her and is just trying to find a place to where to have them. Depending on the climate and their location, these eggs may be laid as early as mid-April or as late as mid-December.
Stink bugs eggs. The eggs are commonly white when laid in rows of clusters, but they change to pink as they get closer to hatching. Their mothers watch over them until it is time for the eggs to hatch and the tiny nymphs emerge.
The nymphs. As the nymphs begin to break free through the protective membrane, the other nymphs will also follow. The only purpose of these nymphs once they emerged from their eggs is to just eat. When they come out, they look the same as an adult stink bug, but looks rounder rather than shield-shaped. Through the course of four to five weeks, these nymphs will go through five instars.
Instars are the stages between molts in an insect’s life. For nymphs, the first and second instars look like tick-like, but are yellowish or reddish in color. The final three instars will make the nymphs darker and closer in appearance to the adults.
Adults. Three weeks after her final molt, the female stink bugs can lay her first pod of eggs, which would then start the whole process again. The adult stink bugs mostly feed on plants or insects. These bugs may mate up to four times per year, which could just take for only a few minutes of just a few days.
Their Life Cycle from Fall through Winter
Every fall, these bugs thrive even more. They will get inside homes and you may be able to see the bugs near windows and attics. During fall, aggregation of insects on sunny sides of the home are common. As the summer progresses, these insects will seek warmer places to spend their days where you might be able to see them even more.
As winter approaches, these bugs will seek permanent shelter from the cold. They may even spread the word about a preferred overwintering site through the use of aggregation pheromones, which most would join in. Although many of these bugs would die off when the cold winter comes, but most of the female stink bugs will leave eggs behind to start a new population for next year. Others would simply migrate to warmer climates. Some would stay in burrows in the leaf litter or hinder under loose bark to protect them from the frost. However, your home is still prone to bed bug invasion as they seek shelter from the cold and a place where they could lay their eggs.
Dealing with Stink Bugs at Home
The sudden appearance of dozens of even hundreds of insects in your home may cause for an alarm, but there are still known simple remedies to get rid of stink bugs in your home. Keep in mind that stink bugs do not bite. They also do not infest your pantry like other pests do, and they do not do any structural damage to your home. The main reason that they are staying in your home is so they can survive the winter.
To prevent pest entry make sure to:
- Inspect your home for opening or cracks and repair them once seen.
- Install insect screening over chimney caps and gable vents and windows.
Once stink bugs enter the structure
Do not use insecticide once these insects have gained access to the wall voids or attic areas. Although insecticides may kill most of these bugs, but there is a chance that other insects may feed on the dead bug, which could then attack woolens, stored dry goods and other foods in the home. Do not squish these insects because they emit a foul defensive odor when injured or threatened. Vacuum clean the area where the bugs are residing instead of using chemical pesticides, then remove the vacuum bag and dispose the trash properly when done.