In North America, scientists currently recognize approximately 260 different species of “stink bugs”. Of this wide range of species, only a little more than a dozen are normally reported inside homes during the year. Stink bugs are generally an inch in length and smaller, going down to a size of around 1/6 of an inch. These insects get their common name from the many members of the family that have scent glands which penetrate the air with a strong and noxious odor. This scent mechanism is used by stink bugs much in the same way a skunk uses his scent glands, as a defense mechanism against predators. Stink bugs generally enter homes and dwelling places during the winter months, looking for a warmer place to hibernate for the winter. Stink bugs come in a range of colors including greens and browns. Their backs are shield shaped, and they have a triangular thorax. Adult stink bugs have four wings and two antennas.
The life cycle of a stink bug begins after the winter hibernation is over. Female stink bugs will emerge with nearly 150 eggs that they will carry until they find a place to lay them. The eggs are usually attached to the underside of a leaf, where the female believes they will be safe. Depending on weather and other conditions, the eggs will hatch anywhere from a few days to a few weeks after they are laid.
Stay Tuned over the next few days for the rest of this four part series, including prevention and treatment for stink bugs.