Common brown stink bug


This crop pest of China was introduced into Pennsylvania by accident in 1998, and has spread throughout the Northeast. The name “stink bug” refers to glands on the abdomen.  When disturbed or if crushed the insect will release a potent and unpleasant odor – like potent skunk smell !




It is a nuisance pest both indoors and out. It pierces and damages fruit and new shoots on most plants.  Adult stink bugs cause significant damage as they eat fruit and vegetables and can quickly decimate an orchard or garden.  Their bite releases toxic saliva that causes a scar on the fruit making it unsuitable for sale.


Adults piercing and eating fruit




Eggs are elliptical, light yellow, with minute spines. Adults emerge in late April, mate and lay eggs.  These hatch into black nymphs and go through five molts then begin to search for over wintering sites in fall.


Egg cases and recently hatched babies !




During the fall, they try to get indoors where they hide in warm places during winter and await spring. Infestations can become overwhelming if not addressed promptly and continuously.

Once inside, they will settle down in wall voids, crawl spaces, and other hard-to-reach areas to wait out the colder weather. They will  cause quite a stink when you try to kill them or vacuum them up.





Several treatments are recommended in gardens where a history of problems exists. It is best to get them when they are small.  Some organic products are available to treat this pest, but usually stronger products are required, especially as they grow larger.  In NY state – insects already inside the house have to be treated by an exterminator.


If you see any in your garden – Call Plant Specialists TODAY !

We have experts that know what to do !

We have NYSDEC licensed applicators whom can treat them too !!!

Don’t delay – the sooner the better !






Article written by our Staff Horticulturist, Peter B Morris, BSc, MSc, MBA

All photographs used with permission @SHUTTERSTOCK