Watch out: Something stinky is coming your way.
Of course, we’re talking about stink bugs. While these are not a favorite for many, it doesn’t change the fact that they are particularly interesting insects. Stink bugs tend to peak during the fall months. This is because they are usually on the lookout for a warm and cozy place to spend the colder months in. While sting bugs feed on fruits, buds, and pods, they are also known to feed on trees and other plants. This becomes a problem for farmers and homeowners.
Here are a few interesting facts about stink bugs that we bet you didn’t know:
1. In case you haven’t guessed, stink bugs do, indeed, stink
Think about stink bugs as skunks. Each time they feel threatened, they release a strong substance for their glands in order to repel any predator that dares to come close enough. Of course, this only works if the predator has functioning chemoreceptors, or to put it simply, a sense of smell.
If you want to witness this insect’s famous skill, gently squeeze the stink bug between your fingers while holding it from the sides. Soon enough, you’ll smell the foul odor that we are talking about. It is important to note that the stink bug is not one of a kind. In fact, almost all types of insects put up a stink when they feel threatened, including ladybugs!
2. Stink Bugs Can Actually Help Get Rid of Pests
Even though you might think of all stink bugs are “bad” because some are plant feeders and agricultural pests, all stink bugs are not out to destroy your property. In fact, stink bugs in the subfamily Asopinae are known as predators of other pests and insects. They actually help deter pests found in plants.
One common stink bug, the soldier bug, can easily be identified due to the prominent spikes on its shoulders. This bug is great for your garden as it feeds on leaf beetle larvae, caterpillars, and other pests that are known for damaging your plants. Who said maintenance needs to be expensive, right?
3. Stink Bug Mothers and Fathers Guard Their Kids
It is weird to imagine a mama stink bug and a papa stink bug, but it is true that stink bug mothers guard their young aggressively. She will protect her cluster of eggs from predators while shielding them from parasitic wasps that usually lay eggs in the stink bugs eggs.
Mother stink bugs also protect the nymphs after they hatch, but only for a while. In fact, according to a recent study, two sting bug males were found guarding the eggs. This is unusual behavior for male pests as usually, females adopt this role.
4. Sting Bugs Come from the Pentatomidae Family
In 1815, an English zoologist and marine biologist, William Elford Leach, started calling the stink bug family “Pentatomidae.” In fact, he is credited with this common name. Pentatomidae comes from the Greek word “pente,” which means “five,” and “tomos,” which means “sections.”
Today, there is some debate on whether Leach kept this name based on the stink bug’s five-segmented antennae or the five sides of its shield-like body. Even though we are not fully aware of Leach’s intent, we know two important traits of a stink bug that will help us identify them in our backyards.
5. Parasitic Wasps and Stink Bugs are Enemies
Stink bugs do not falter when they have to repel insects with the sheer smell of their stink. While this strategy keeps them successfully safe from most insects, it does not work on parasitic wasps. Parasitic wasps are small wasps that gain pleasure out of laying their eggs inside the stink bug’s eggs. When this happens, the stink bug’s eggs do not hatch as eggs are parasitized.
What’s worse is that one adult wasp can successfully parasitize up to a few hundred stink bug eggs. However, farmers are at an advantage as parasitic wasps are the perfect biocontrol for pest stink bug species that feed on crops and destroy plants.
6. Stink Bug Sex is Not Romantic
We’ve been conditioned to believe that sex is supposed to be passionate and romantic. However, this rule does not apply to stink bugs. An interested male bug touches a female with his antennae to portray his intention and then moves to her nether end. If this does not work, he will headbutt her till she gives him some attention. If the female bug feels the same way, she will lift her hind end.
However, if she is not interested, she will ignore him. Then, the male will usually push her bum up, not caring about whether she approves or not. If the female bug is really not interested and gets angry, she will kick the male bug in the head. Stink bugs mate in an end-to-end position, and their mating lasts for a few hours. The female bug will multitask during this time by dragging the male bug behind her as she continues to feed.
7. Stink Bugs Can Be Brightly Colored
Not all stink bugs are disgusting shades of green or brown. In fact, they are known to disguise themselves to blend in with their surroundings. Some stink bugs are bright and showy. An example is a harlequin bug. It wears a vibrant orange, black, and white costume that is hard to miss.
Another beautiful insect is the two-spotted stink bug, called the Perillus Bioculatus. It has red and black warning colors on its body with a special flair that looks attractive to its surrounding species. The Thyanta Spp is another sting bug. Even though it is subtler than the rest, it is equally stunning. It has a rosy stripe traveling on top of the triangular shield that falls in the center of its back.
8. Baby Sting Bugs Suck Their Eggshells After They Hatch
When they first hatch, the baby sting bugs stay close together and huddle in the broken eggshells around them. According to science, the nymphs acquire gut symbionts by sucking on secretions on the eggshells.
If your property is infested with stink bugs and you are tired of the vandalization, Ants Plus is here to help you. We believe that your home should always be your safe space, which is why we provide the best pest control services in Maine. Call us today for a free quote!