The stink bug that is a stink bug

The stink bug that is a stink bug

the essentials in brief

  • Stink bugs can be combated with many home remedies or self-made traps. Chemical agents should only be used in exceptional cases because of their health risk.
  • Prevention is better than control, as stink bugs are neither poisonous nor dangerous.
  • Four of the native types of bedbugs are more common in gardens or apartments. The marbled stink bug can cause damage in the garden.
  • The development is completed within a few weeks. Bedbugs can defend themselves against enemies and mostly suck up plant sap.

Drive away and control stink beetles

stink bug-stinkbeetle

If you want to get rid of stink beetles, you can usually resort to simple means. A few insects in the house have probably got lost through open windows and doors. You can catch the bugs with a jar and release them in the garden. If the bed bug population has spread in the apartment to the point that a plague has arisen, measures to combat it can be useful.

also read

  • The gray garden bug: pest or beneficial insect?
  • Is the garden bug a dreaded pest?
  • How to attract insects to the garden

Build a trap

Virginia Tech College researchers have analyzed how well bedbugs can be attracted and killed with a homemade trap. They filled a container with water and added a few splashes of dishwashing detergent. The trap was placed under a lamp. Their results show that the insects are strongly attracted to light. They fall into the shell and drown in the water due to the low surface tension. Such a trap catches up to 14 times more pests than a conventional insect trap on the market.

Glue traps

Like many insects, stink bugs are attracted to the color yellow. Therefore, yellow glue boards are effective in preventing the insects from entering the home. Glue the strips on the window frame or on the door sill. As soon as the bugs come into contact with the surface, they stick and die. As an alternative, you can also use double-sided tape.

DIY glue traps:

  1. Cut the baking paper into strips
  2. Brush with syrup or honey
  3. let dry
  4. Attach to entry gates with adhesive tape

Home remedies

There are a number of home remedies that you can use to kill bedbugs easily. Before taking the measures, you should think about the benefits. Many substances are not particularly animal-friendly and cause unnecessary harm to the insects. Since bed bugs do not cause any damage in the home, control is often not necessary.

Chili sauceCapsaicin irritates insects and destroys their wax layerWet the beetle with a fine spray
Hairsprayparalyzes the insectsspray directly on the insects
window cleaning agents containing alcoholdestroys the wax layer so that insects dry outWet bugs
White wine vinegarAnimals drown without giving off odorous substancesCatch bugs and place them in a glass filled with vinegar

Make pepper spray

If you have chilli flakes, fresh chilli peppers or jalapeƱos in the house, you can use them as a base for an insecticidal spray. Boil the flakes or finely chopped pods in water and simmer the stock over medium heat for 15 minutes.

So that the capsaicin contained is optimally released into the water, you should then let the mixture steep for 24 hours. Sieve off the flakes and add a few drops of detergent. Olive soap has proven itself because it is biodegradable and harmless to humans and plants.

Mix the alcohol solution

Mix some alcohol with water and pour the solution into a spray bottle. With this agent, you can spray the bedbugs directly and also wet plants that are infested with related types of bedbugs. The alcohol attacks the sensitive wax layer, which protects the insects from drying out. If the protective layer is destroyed, the bugs lose excessive water and dry out.

Brew nicotine brew

stink bug-stinkbeetle

Nicotine is a potent neurotoxin that can be used to kill bed bugs. Old cigarette butts are suitable for making a pesticide. Put the leftovers in warm water and let the brew steep. Then sieve the coarse pieces out of the liquid and pour the nicotine stock into a spray bottle. Add a few drops of washing-up liquid. This ensures that the liquid sticks to the bug. Spray the insects with the solution.


Insecticides are effective in killing stink bugs. As they can have a negative impact on human and pet health, they should be used with caution. It can become a problem if the insects perish in inaccessible niches. The remains often attract insect pests. Chemical agents usually only help for a limited period of time. As soon as the effect is gone and you open windows and doors to ventilate, the next bugs can enter.

  • Wax remover : kills within minutes
  • De-icer : freezes the bug in seconds
  • Bleach : is very aggressive
  • Ammonia : strong odor disgusts insects

Prevent stink bugs

Anyone who wants to get rid of stink beetles must take preventive measures. To prevent insects from entering the house and apartment, you should check facades, windows and doors for leaks and seal them with silicone. If you ventilate in the evening, turn off the lights. Bedbugs are attracted to light sources.

Drive away stink beetles

Bedbugs love warmth and prefer to sit on the house walls of the balcony and terrace facing south. To keep these out of the apartment, you can spray an intensely scented solution of water, vinegar and washing-up liquid on window sills and door frames. The smell of vinegar scares off the insects, so that they run away. You can also spray the troublemakers directly with the solution. This does not harm the bugs, but has a disgusting effect.

These substances don't like bedbugs:

  • Salmiac
  • fresh juniper branches
  • Clove or neem oil

Make a scare spray yourself

stink bug-stinkbeetle

Bed bugs don't like the smell of intensely scented fabrics. You can take advantage of this property by spraying a deterrent on possible entry gates. Fill 500 milliliters of water into an atomizer bottle and add either four teaspoons of ground garlic or ten drops of mint oil. The remedy is effective until the scent is gone. Essential oils evaporate quickly, so you need to use the remedy more often.

Are stink beetles poisonous or dangerous?

If you find stink beetles in the apartment then you don't have to worry. The insects do not cause any damage to the building fabric and do not infest food. There are no special precautions for pets either. When the stink beetles become a nuisance, they cause feelings of disgust. However, they are not a sign of poor hygiene.

Don't be afraid of stink bugs:

  • neither dangerous nor toxic to humans
  • Not toxic to cats, but secretions can cause irritation in the eyes and mouth
  • non-toxic to dogs, may cause excessive salivation if accidentally eaten

Odor nuisance

If the insects secrete their defense secretion when danger is imminent or in stressful situations, this can lead to an unpleasant smell. The secretion of the most common types is normally not poisonous. Sensitive people should wash their hands thoroughly as the secretions can cause allergic reactions.


Stink beetle plague 2018

This year was characterized by a long summer with particularly warm temperatures, so that bed bugs could reproduce ideally. Usually the insects develop one generation per year. In 2018 there were two generations so twice as many animals. In many regions, people struggled with these species:

  • Green stink bug
  • Marbled stink bug
  • Greyish-brown field bug or garden bug
  • Reddish-brown cone bug

Heated interiors and light sources are attractive to the bed bugs. Shortly before winter, they looked for suitable quarters and got into buildings through open windows and doors or through open spaces on the facade. In some places the stink beetle has become a nuisance in the house. Heated winter gardens or covered balconies were also ideal places of retreat.

Can the stink bug cause a bite?

stink bug-stinkbeetle

Bedbugs have stinging-sucking mouthparts. These consist of a tube with a narrow longitudinal channel on the top. The proboscis is equipped with piercing bristles on both sides, which are provided with sharp teeth at the tip. With the help of these mouthparts, bedbugs can drill tiny holes in plants, seeds and fruits in order to suck them out. Stink bugs, which include stink bugs, are not dangerous to humans. They do not cause a bite in human skin.

Stink bugs are completely harmless to humans and should not be killed carelessly.

Soft bug bites

Psallus varians does not belong to the stink bugs, but to the family of soft bugs and grows to a few millimeters in size. The species feeds on tree pollen and aphids. It inhabits mainly beech and oak. An unusual observation was made in 2016. The species appeared in large schools and has stung people many times.

The painful bite caused allergic reactions that manifested themselves in inflammation and reddening of the skin. There is no explanation for this atypical behavior. Apparently the insects were irritated by the capricious weather with heavy rain and humid conditions.

Species in Germany

A species that occurs more frequently in Germany is often referred to as a stink bug. It belongs to the stink bug family, which has around 70 species in Central Europe. In contrast, the stink beetle is a related species that is not originally native to Germany.

Stink bug and stink beetle
Food cropsHarmful effectfamily
Common stink bugAlder, linden, nettle, thistleno significant damageStink bugs
Marbled stink bugprefers rose plantsCrop damage and fungal transmissionStink bugs
Gray garden bugDeciduous trees, dead insectsdoes not cause any damageStink bugs
American pine bugConifersReduced yield in the production of conifer seedsEdge bugs

Common stink bug

The green stink bug (Palomena prasina) is between twelve and 13.5 millimeters long and has a broad, oval body. It is characterized by a color change that is determined by the respective season. From spring to autumn the insects are colored green and covered with fine dark spots.

If the temperature drops in autumn, the green stink beetle changes its basic color from brown to red-brown. Only after wintering does the green color reappear. The nymphs have a green base tone and are patterned in black and white.

Marbled stink bug

This species is colloquially known as the stink beetle. Behind this name is the marbled stink bug (Halyomorpha halys). With its body length of twelve to 17 millimeters, the bug is a relatively large type of bug. Like all stink bugs, this species also has a robust body that appears somewhat leaf-shaped. The body is ocher in color and has numerous black dots that sit close together.

Colloquial terms:

  • Brown stink bug : Insects are reminiscent of the green stink bug with a brown color
  • Chinese stink bug: The bug originally comes from eastern China
  • Asian stink bug : a dreaded pest found in Japan, Korea and Taiwan

The bugs become active as soon as the thermometer rises above ten degrees Celsius. They suck plant sap and have not specialized in any plant species. Their diet includes around 300 different herbs and shrubs, from which leaves and fruits are sucked in. The marbled stink bug can occur on maiden vines, rowan berries or ash trees and sucks on trumpet trees and buddleia.

American pine bug

stink bug-stinkbeetle

This type of bug belongs to the verge bug family and is native to western North America. The American cone bug (Leptoglossus occidentalis) can grow to two centimeters long and is unmistakable due to its noticeable flight noise. The species was first observed in Germany in 2006.

It lives in coniferous forests and secretes an attractant that smells like pines. Since the bugs suck up seeds from conifers, it is feared in nurseries. The species can be recognized by its reddish-brown to black upper side. Characteristic is a zigzag band running across the wing-coverts in white color.

Further names for the species:

  • American stink bug or American stink bug
  • Canadian stink bug or Canadian cone bug
  • north american pine bug

Gray garden bug

This stink bug is sometimes referred to as the gray field bug and has the scientific name Rhaphigaster nebulosa. It becomes between 14 and 16 millimeters long and is colored in a dirty gray with yellowish or brownish nuances. The wing covers are covered with uneven point pits. The gray garden bug has a typical black and yellow pattern on the edges of the abdomen.

From egg to bug

The development of bedbugs is a fascinating natural spectacle. Each type of bug is characterized by its own mating behavior. Stink bugs and edge bugs mate similarly to fire bugs. Males and females sit together so that their abdomen are touching. They usually produce a generation a year. Several generations can arise under particularly favorable conditions. If winter comes too early, the nymphs can no longer finish their development.

Egg laying

Females of many types of bugs have a well-developed laying apparatus with which they can drill into the ground or into plant tissue and lay their eggs there. Species with an underdeveloped ovipositor bury their eggs in the substrate or stick them in small packages to parts of the plant.


stink bug-stinkbeetle

After the nymphs hatch from the eggs, they usually molt five times. In the course of the developmental stages the young animals become more and more similar to the adult bedbugs. They don't go through a pupal stage but a gradual change. Many types of bugs care for their brood and take care of their offspring after they hatch. Typical of stink bugs is the social life of the nymphs. They secrete pheromones that keep the insects together. In the event of danger, an alarm substance is produced that forces the group to disband.


The diurnal green stink bug goes through a development period of three months from egg to young bug. The insects are able to reproduce just one week after the last molt. Their mating season extends from May to June. Sexually mature animals can also appear between July and August, and adult bedbugs survive winter in mild conditions, so the insects can expect a lifespan of twelve to 14 months.


The stink bugs native to Europe overwinter mostly as adult bugs. When the temperatures drop in autumn, you are looking for suitable winter quarters with warm and sheltered conditions. Therefore, in urban areas, bed bugs are common in apartments and houses. They crawl through cracks and crevices or come through open windows and doors.


Since the insects can fly, you should provide windows with mosquito screens. Spray a solution of water and garlic powder or mint oil on possible entry points to scare off the insects.

Way of life and behavior

Bedbugs inhabit forests, bushes and herbaceous landscapes. Their food spectrum is broad and different depending on the family and species. The insects know how to defend themselves in case of danger or against predators, which causes aversions in humans.


stink bug-stinkbeetle

Stink bugs have a polyphagous diet. They do not specialize in food, but use different food sources. The green stink bug is preferred on deciduous trees such as linden and alder. It lives in bushes and colonizes nettles and thistles. The nymphs suck the sap from the green parts of the plant, while adult bugs suck up ripening seeds and fruits. When the insect appears in gardens, it does not cause relevant damage.

This is how stink bugs feed:

  • Predator : Stiretrus anchorago (English: anchor stink bug)
  • Pests : grain bug (Aelia acuminata), cabbage bug (Eurydema oleracea)
  • Sap suckers : Green stink bug (Palomena prasina)
  • Insect decomposer: gray garden bug (Rhaphigaster nebulosa)

Defense secretion

Bed bugs have scent glands that are located on the underside of the chest. The nymphs have traveled through these glands and can thus defend themselves against birds, small animals or other insects. The antibodies that cause a bad smell in some stink bugs can be injected in specific directions with the help of the glands. The production of antibodies occurs when there is danger or stressful situations.

Many people perceive the scent of this secretion as unpleasant. The descriptions vary from an unpleasant and penetrating chemical bitter almond aroma to fruit-like smells. The secretion settles in clothing, on the skin or in carpet fibers, so that the affected areas emit bad smells for a long time.



Do not catch stink bugs with your hand and be careful not to crush the insects. It is more gentle with a screw jar and a sheet of paper.

Remove odor

The foul smelling secretion can sometimes give off its scent in the apartment for days. A thorough cleaning with soap and water is usually not enough, because the bedbug secretion consists of 18 different substances including some acids. To get rid of the odor, try proven home remedies:

  • Rub your hands with coffee grounds
  • Spread baking soda on light-colored clothing and carpets and soak with water
  • Treat dark textiles or skin with lemon juice

frequently asked Questions

Is the green stink bug poisonous to humans?

Although this species produces a foul smelling secretion, there is no need to be alarmed. The liquid is non-toxic. It serves to ward off predators and is often sprayed in stressful situations. If you get the secretion in your eyes, you should rinse them out thoroughly with clean water. Sensitive people can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions.

What can be done against stink beetles?

The marbled stink bug is often referred to as the stink beetle. Since it is considered a crop pest, larger populations should be eliminated. You can dust the bugs with kieselguhr outdoors. This dissolves the protective layer of the exoskeleton, causing the insects to dry out. An aqueous solution with a little washing-up liquid has a similar effect.

Which beetle likes to eat tomatoes?

The marbled stink bug is a feared crop pest in agriculture. The species originally comes from East Asia. It has now spread to southern Europe. When it comes to the menu, the bug is not picky. She eats apples, corn or berries. Grapes, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers are not spurned either. The marbled stink bug is occasionally found on ornamental plants such as roses or lilacs.

Are stink bugs useful?

Some bed bugs are both useful and harmful. They suck the juices from leaves, seeds and fruits. This leads to growth disorders and cripples. They can transmit viruses, fungi and bacteria to crops. However, there are also predatory bedbugs that are used as beneficial insects against spider mites, aphids or leaf fleas. They do no harm to plants as they only feed on insects.

Can stink bugs fly?

There are some types of bugs that do not have wings. All stink bugs have well-developed wings. These are completely membranous and enable flying locomotion. This way, the insects can easily get into the home through open windows and doors.

Are Bed Bugs Edible?

Schnabelkerfen, to which the bugs belong, make up about ten percent of the insects eaten worldwide. In Asia, various bugs have become an indispensable part of the menu. The giant water bug (Lethocerus patruelis) is used as a spice in Thailand and other Far Eastern countries. The insects are attracted and captured at night with UV lights. They are then roasted and mashed to flavor various dishes. Due to the increasing demand and the elimination of vital water points, the numbers of this species continue to decline.