Stink Bug Vs Triatomine Bugs – Key Facts

Triatomine bugs and stink bugs look quite similar to each other in some ways, and if you cross paths with one or the other, you might be struggling to tell them apart.

It’s important to distinguish between these two insects, so you know what you are dealing with and how wary of them you need to be.

Triatomine bugs might look like stink bugs, but they have a key difference; they consume blood, and that includes the blood of humans.

Stink bugs, on the other hand, will usually run away from people, and will rarely bite. Some stink bugs can’t bite, and even those that can only do so when cornered.

This article will cover

  • How do you tell the difference between stink bugs and triatomine bugs?
  • Which insect are you more likely to find in your home?
  • How can you identify these two kinds of insects?
  • Which one is worse to come across?
  • Whereabouts will you find them?
  • Do triatomine bugs eat stink bugs?

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

So, how do you tell these two insects apart and work out which is invading your home? The first thing to do is to look at the bug and compare it with pictures online if you can. You may find that it helps to take a picture of it yourself.

You might also be able to tell from how the insect behaves. Triatomine bugs feed on humans and other animals, so they will usually come out at night when people are asleep.

Stink bugs are usually trying to hibernate, and therefore they may not be moving around the house much at any time.

If you find insects in your room or see them crawling around your home, they may be triatomine bugs. Catch one and compare it to the pictures below to check.

Stink Bugs

Stink bugs are often (but not always) light brown. They have bodies shaped somewhat like shields, and they are around 17 mm long in most cases (depending on the species).

They should have six legs, and they are quite tough, with armored bodies.

If you frighten a stink bug, you will be left in no doubt as to its identity, because it will secrete a smelly liquid. This is designed to put predators off, and it can make your home smell awful for a long time, so treat stink bugs with caution.

Triatomine Bugs

Triatomine bugs are also brown, but they are usually quite dark brown. The females have more pointed bodies, while the males are a little more rounded. They get bigger than stink bugs, and can grow to about 27 mm long.

Some triatomine bugs have colored bars around the edges of their bodies, usually amber. These make them quite pretty, but don’t be deceived into picking one up! Treat them with caution, as they can spread diseases.

Which Is A Worse Pest?

Triatomine bugs are worse pests to encounter, because they can spread human Chagas disease. They are also unpleasant in that they are parasites that will feed on your blood, or the blood of any pets that you have.

Where Are They Likely To Be Found?

Triatomine bugs are found in homes less frequently than stink bugs, but if you do discover one inside – especially a juvenile – you may have an infestation somewhere.

In a sealed home, it is uncommon for insects to get in, as they can’t effectively hide a colony. However, in a home that has not been properly maintained, these bugs might infest damaged walls or crawl through unsealed cracks.

In general, an infestation in your home will be near to any pet beds or near to human beds. If there are rodents in the home as well, triatomine bugs may live near there.

They need a ready supply of food, so look for them in proximity to mammals.

By contrast, stink bugs prefer to be further from humans and pets. They come inside to hibernate, not to look for food, so it is in their interests to stay away. They are less likely to be squashed if they go unnoticed.

If you’re looking for stink bugs, check out dark corners of the home that you rarely use. Garages, behind furniture, or in little crevices are the commonest places to find stink bugs at home.

Do Triatomine Bugs Kill Or Eat Stink Bugs?

It is unlikely that a triatomine bug would attack a stink bug, even though triatomine bugs are larger insects. They feed on the blood of other animals.

It does not seem that any studies have been done on their relationship with stink bugs, but the most likely outcome is that the two would ignore each other.

They are unlikely to fight, even if they are bumping into each other in the contested territory because they are not competing for the same kinds of foods, and therefore they are not rivals. Fighting would be a waste of energy and time.

What Should You Do About These Insects?

If you have found either of these insects in your home, you might be wondering what the next step is. Let’s find out!

Triatomine Bugs

If you come across something you believe is a triatomine bug, you should capture the insect and freeze it.

You can then send it to a local research center or university lab so that it can be identified. This helps to further science’s understanding of this bug and its bite.

For anyone who owns pets, it’s a good idea to regularly check areas around their beds for signs of these insects, especially if your pet seems uncomfortable or reluctant to go to bed.

Don’t leave cracks in the walls unsealed, or rodent infestations unaddressed, or you are at risk of getting these insects in.

Remember, they can spread deadly diseases, so you really don’t want these in your home under any circumstances. Keep an eye out for them, and deal with them immediately.

If you have an infestation of triatomine bugs, make sure you get professionals to deal with the problem, because they will know how to take the relevant precautions to minimize any risk of biting or reinfestation.

Stink Bugs

Sealing up your home is a good way to keep stink bugs out, and you can combine this with other strategies like not leaving a light on in your porch during fall, which is when stink bugs tend to be looking for a cozy spot.

You might be able to get stink bug traps that will work, or you can make your own. Use some hot water and vinegar with a dash of liquid soap – this should kill stink bugs promptly. You can also spray them with this mixture.

Again, any major infestation should be dealt with by a local pest control company, as this will usually prove more effective than homemade options.


It is worth learning how to tell stink bugs and triatomine bugs apart because the two are often misclassified and confused.

In some cases, this mistake could be very serious, so take a bit of time to familiarize yourself with the differences.

This will help you know how to handle the two bugs, and possibly avert disaster in the future.

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

Pest Control or Exterminator: Seven Key Things You Need to Know Before Choosing

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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