Stink Bug Vs Bed Bugs – Key Facts To Know

Have you ever wondered about the differences between stink bugs and bed bugs? These two insects are not very similar, but either appearing in your home is a good reason to be concerned, so don’t ignore their presence.

If you have a severe infestation of stink bugs or bed bugs, you will need professional pest controllers to help you deal with it.

Stink bugs and bed bugs have little in common, but they do sometimes cause a similar odor.

Although bed bugs will not always emit a smell, the odor that they can create when they are present in large numbers can smell rather like a stink bug’s unpleasant secretions.

Both bugs can be active at night, but stink bugs are also active during the day.

We are going to look at:

  • How do you know if you have stink bugs or bed bugs?
  • Which is more likely to be in your home?
  • What do these insects look like?
  • Which one is worse?
  • Where are they likely to be found?
  • Do bed bugs kill or eat stink bugs?
  • How should you deal with them?

How Do You Tell If You Have Stink Bugs Vs Bed Bugs?

The two kinds of insects can both produce an awful scent, and you might miscategorize your home invader because of this problem.

If you think you have stink bugs because you have detected a pungent smell in or around your bed, it’s worth pausing and investigating further.

While bed bugs can produce a smell like the foul stench of a stink bug when they are in high numbers, they are quite different in other ways, so let’s explore the common signs of bed bugs.

Both insects are quite likely to be found in the home, however, stink bugs usually only come indoors during the winter, so in the summer, bed bugs are commoner pests.

Let’s briefly explore what they look like and how to identify them.

Stink Bugs

There are a few different kinds of stink bugs, but in general, they will be shield-shaped, and they are often brown. They have armored bodies, six legs, and are not nearly as small as bed bugs are.

Stink bugs emit a terrible odor if you frighten them or kill them, which comes from a liquid they secrete from their bodies. Unlike bed bugs, they do not bite (at least in most species) and have no interest in approaching or being near humans.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are very small and often hard to see, but if you lift your mattress, you might spot them. They are around the size of an apple pip, and dark.

You may also see small, dark spots, which are specks of dried blood. Bed bugs feed on the blood of humans, so if you have squished bugs while asleep, they will leave a speck of blood behind. You may also see dark red spots – this is bed bug poop.

Which Is A Worse Pest?

It depends on your point of view, but many people find bed bugs a more unpleasant visitor. They bite, make your sleep uncomfortable, and invade one of the most peaceful and relaxing places most people have.

They can also be hard to remove, and there’s something about parasites that makes many people squeamish.

Stink bugs can emit a very disgusting odor, but they don’t do any direct harm otherwise. If you see a stink bug, it will probably run away from you and try to hide in a crevice.

Avoid chasing it, or you might expose yourself to its terrible smell.

Stink bugs will leave your home when the weather warms up, as they only come indoors to hide from the cold. They should not cause any major issues in the house, as they do not eat while hibernating, so food in your home is safe.

You can just ignore stink bugs if they are not causing an issue, but keep an eye on the situation. If they do not go back outside after the weather warms up, or they seem to be growing in numbers, take action.

Where Are They Likely To Be Found?

Stink bugs can appear anywhere in the home, but tend to inhabit quiet, undisturbed corners. They come indoors to hibernate through the winter, rather than to look for food, so you may not see them unless you are cleaning in disused areas.

In general, bed bugs will be found in the bed, around the edges of the mattress, and in any crevices. They do not live in other areas of the house usually, although you may find them in sofas and other soft furnishings if they can get enough food and shelter.

Do Bed Bugs Kill Or Eat Stink Bugs?

No. Bed bugs are significantly smaller than stink bugs, and they do not interact with them. Bed bugs have evolved to feed on the blood of humans, and even if one came across a stink bug, it would simply ignore it.

What Should You Do About These Insects?

So, you have one or the other of these insects in your home – what now? Let’s explore the approaches you can take to these insects.

Bed Bugs

Of the two, bed bugs are often the harder insect to get rid of. They will lay eggs in the mattress, and even if you manage to trap all the adults and kill them, you will still have a new cycle of bed bugs.

Even changing the mattress may not be sufficient, as they will often hide in any crevices created by the bed frame, in your blankets, and possibly in any rugs or soft furnishings nearby.

It takes a concerted effort to get rid of bed bugs, and even serious control measures may not eradicate them.

Many people use poison, but this is best left to professionals. You do not want to be breathing in chemicals around your bed, where they may disrupt your sleep and cause you harm.

If you wish to use poisons, call a professional firm to do this safely.

If you are going to use traps, make sure you do so consistently for months. This should help to catch bed bugs as they hatch, and slow down their ability to spread. You may need to pair this method with other approaches.

Stink Bugs

Getting rid of stink bugs can also be tricky because it is so hard to approach them without triggering their defense. Usually, traps will be your safest option. Filling a dish with vinegar, dish soap, and hot water can be a good approach.

You can also try spraying this on the bugs if you can get close to them, but this may not be possible.

Some people have found that putting a damp towel outside the door and then leaving the door (or a window) open leads to the bugs moving outside overnight. The towel should be covered in bugs by morning, as they need moisture to survive.


Stink bugs and bed bugs can both be annoying in the home, for very different reasons. If you have bed bugs, you may notice yourself getting itchy at night, or finding little specks of blood in the bed.

You are more likely to notice the presence of stink bugs by spotting or smelling them. Either way, make sure you investigate and take action before the infestation spreads.

Alright, that’s it for this article, here are a few hand-selected articles that you might also find interesting reads:

Stink Bugs vs. June Bugs – What to Know

Stink Bugs vs. Squash Bugs- What You Need to Know

Stink Bug Vs Triatomine Bugs – Key Facts

Steve Foster

Mad about bugs and wanting to publish as many articles as I can to help educate people about these amazing beautiful creatures! For more info check out my about page

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