The Stink Behind the Stink Bug

The Stink Behind the Stink Bug

Different Types of Stink Bugs

Also often referred to as shield bugs due to their shape, sting bugs belong to the family Pentatomidae and come in many different subspecies within that family; the most common of which is the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. They have a hard, outer shell shaped like a long trapezoid that acts as an armor for their protection. While many of the subspecies have their own unique traits, one thing all of these Pentatomidae have in common is their infamous defense mechanism: their odious odor.

An Unmistakable Odor

Aldehydes are compounds that exist within the waxy fluids of the stink bug. When threatened, injured, or even fully squished the bugs will release this fluid, flooding the surrounding area with the odor of their aldehydes. Aldehydes are notorious for their prominent scent. A fantastic example of this is the overwhelming smell of formaldehyde that sickeningly permeates through the halls of funeral homes and morgues. The combination of the aldehydes in stink bugs produces an odor that is sometimes described as a cross between cilantro and skunk spray. Cilantro also contains some aldehydes which accounts for the similarity in scent when stink bugs release their odorous defense mechanism from their highly concentrated scent glands.

Invading Your Home and Offending Your Nose

Stink bugs are relatively harmless to humans… unless you have a very sensitive nose. They can be a tad damaging to things around you, however. If squashed on furniture, occasionally they can leave behind stains. They are also rather destructive in the garden, tending to munch on various plants and foods including: apples, berries, beans, green peppers, and tomatoes. This makes these pests extra annoying for farmers and avid gardeners. Also, when these little stinkers find a place they like, whether it’s a garden or your home, they release pheromones to alert their fellow stinky brethren to come join them… which can cause an infestation fast. If stink bugs are invading your house and offending your nose, call in the professionals today to end the smelly siege.

Citations

Green, H. (2018) Why Do Stink Bugs Stink?, Youtube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LE-0x9AvGh8 (Accessed: June 2020).

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