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

It’s hard to distinguish the differences between a stink bug and a squash bug. Both have hard-shelled bodies that are similar in shape, and they both release a foul-smelling odor when threatened.

They’re also both annoying garden pests to those who identify with a green thumb.

The rest of the article will go into detail about the key differences between stink bugs vs. squash bugs and all you need to know about dealing with these smelly little pests. 

We will be exploring the following in this article:

  • What are the key differences between these insects?
  • Which insect you are more likely to find in your home?
  • What issues both insects can cause?
  • Where in the home they are likely to be?
  • Does each insect smell bad?
  • How do you safely get rid of these pests?

What’s the key difference between stink and squash bugs?

Although very similar, stink bugs are usually larger and rounder and have more of a shield shape in comparison to the squash bug.

A stink bug will also have lighter-colored eggs, where the squash bug has dark-colored eggs

Which is most likely to visit your home?

It certainly depends on where you live, although both stink bugs and squash bugs are capable indoor pests.

The key difference is that Squash bugs don’t mind the winter as much as the stink bug.

This means that you’re far more likely to obtain stink bugs in your house on the cool days of the year. 

Is one worse than the other as a pest?

Both are bad, tending to destroy plants by sucking the juice out for nutrients.

Although both annoying, the female stink bug can produce up to 400 eggs during her lifetime, outweighing the squash bug’s fertility, who only produces about one generation per year (sometimes two). 

Where are they most likely to hide in your home?

Squash bugs love their namesake, generally keeping to pumpkins and squash for their nutrients, vs the stink bug who likes almost all plants.

Squash bugs also are more likely to hide under a houseplant leaf, whereas a stink bug could be there, or in your drapes, or maybe just hanging out in the cracks of your drywall.

Do wasps kill or eat stink bugs?

One of the major predators of the stink bug is the parasitoid wasp. They not only kill the stink bug, but they inject their larva into the eggs of a stink bug, and the wasp larva will kill off the host.

This is the stink bug’s number one predator

Do Tachinid Flies kill or eat squash bugs?

Very similar to the parasitoid wasp in how it kills off the squash bug is the tachinid fly. The tachinid fly will lay its eggs on top of the eggs of the Squash bug.

Once the tachinid fly larva hatch, it will borrow into the squash bug eggs and devour them. It’s a bug-eat-bug world!

What are natural ways of getting rid of stink and squash bugs?

Both stink and squash bugs can be deterred by using essential oils like evergreen on your plants.

Both can also be deterred by planting marigolds in your garden, a plant that attracts tachinid flies, meaning it’s extra helpful for squash bugs.

Does the squash bug stink?

Many are aware that the stink bug is stinky, hence the name, but people often forget that the squash bug releases a similar odor.

This smell is a protective mechanism to ward off predators when threatened. 

Where do they hide in your garden?

If you have something going on with a plant in the squash family, chances are it’s a squash bug wreaking havoc.

The squash bug does prefer those harder shelled plants when compared to the stink bug (the zucchini, pumpkin, squash, etc.). 

What’s the best way to get rid of them?

Hand-picking your plant is the surest and quickest way to get rid of stink and squash bugs. This however will require you to go out and check your garden.

It’s also a recommended practice to burn the killed plant since both these bugs are attracted to dying vegetation. 

Do you smell the stink?

Many bugs from the family Hemiptera have scent glands that produce stinky smells as a protective mechanism.

That being said, not all people smell this chemical compound the same way. Some people report that the smell is fruity, much like synthetic green apple. 

Should you use chemicals for stink bugs and squash bugs?

You shouldn’t have to use chemicals to get rid of your stink or squash bug problem. There are many alternative and natural deterrents to get rid of them.

That being said, if your problem continues, talk to your friendly neighborhood pest control expert to ask what the safest route is for your plants and the environment. 

From where do squash bugs derive?

Squash bugs originally native to South America, although they have reached far and wide past South America’s borders, become spread out throughout North America. 

From where do stink bugs derive?

Stink bugs are originally from South-East Aisa only in recent history have they made themselves a common pest of North America. That being said, they have spread wide and far.

What do stink bugs eat?

Stink bugs are herbivores who eat anything from fruit and vegetables, to legumes. This is very similar to the squash bug with one key difference: stink bugs like softer shelled fruit and veggies. 

What do squash bugs eat?

Similar to the stink bug, the squash bug is a herbivore, that likes to get into your vegetables and fruit. The biggest difference is they love harder shelled plants like zucchini, pumpkins, and squash, hence their name!

What do squash bugs look like?

Squash bugs can grow up to ⅝ inches and have a shield-shaped body that is longer instead of wider. They have brown and orange stripes on their abdomen, and their eggs are oval-shaped and dark. 

From where do stink bugs derive?

Stink bugs can come in different colors including green, brown and can have differently striped or spotted features depending on the type of stink bug.

Much like the squash bug, they have a shield-like body, but it is usually as wide as it is long. They can be anywhere from 9-12 mm in length and width. 

What is a stink bug’s life expectancy?

A stink bug’s life depends on its climate and environment, but generally, its life cycle can last anywhere between 50 days to 8 months

What is a squash bug’s life expectancy?

The squash bug, much like the stink bug, has a life expectancy that depends largely on the environment and climate. That being said, they have a shorter average, living roughly 6-8 weeks

Can you have stink bugs and squash bugs at the same time?

You sure can! Generally, they’ll stay in their respective corners within your garden, but you can have both living in there at the same time, although it’s a rare occurrence.

This is due to a squash bug being attracted to the vegetables stink bugs stay away from

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

Are Stink Bugs Poisonous? – Well, It’s Complicated

Silverfish vs Cockroach – Everything You Need To Know

The Unlucky 13: Insects with the Shortest Life Spans

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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