Where Are Brown Stink Bugs From?

It is an aggravating feeling for those primarily in the Northeast and South to attempt to enjoy a cool autumn night in their home to hear this strong buzzing noise.

A glance up shows what is causing the noise. There’s a stinkbug on the ceiling. Wait, there are two. No, three. How did this happen? 

Where are brown stink bugs from? These prehistoric-looking pests with their triangular shape and hard shells live outside in the weeds and taller grasses, particularly around fruit trees and vegetable gardens.

They invade homes during the fall looking for a place to hang during the winter. 

Here is a summary of stink bugs:

  • They are originally from Asia, specifically China, Korea, and Japan.
  • Stinkbugs are an invasive species that can destroy crops.
  • Stinkbugs are relatively harmless to humans and structures.
  • They are hard to get rid of once they invade. 

The Origins of Stink Bugs

A stink bug’s common name is brown marmorated stink bug but its scientific name is Halymorpha halys Stal 1855. It gets the stink bug moniker because it emits a foul order when you squish one. 

The odor is one problem in attempting to kill stink bugs in your home. Not only is it unpleasant but it can attract other stink bugs. 

Stink bugs or some in the South call them potato bugs, were first found in eastern Pennsylvania in 1998. Some were gathered in Allentown then but scientists believe they arrived in the U.S. several years earlier. 

Since then, the bugs have multiplied and covered ground beyond Pennsylvania to New York, West Virginia, Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

They moved further South and the Midwest too, with the bugs reported in North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, some parts of Georgia and Alabama, Ohio, and Michigan. 

There are also heavy stinkbug populations reported in Southern California, around San Francisco, western Oregon, and middle Washington.

Scientists believe stinkbugs will be in every state eventually

Stink Bugs Destroy Crops

Stink bugs are an invasive species that are well known for destroying fruit and vegetable crops

Their favorite food is fruits like apples, peaches, figs, apricots, mulberries, persimmons, and citrus fruits. However, they also will eat beans, tomatoes, corn, and soybeans as well as ornamental plants. 

Their feeding will show up on fruits and vegetables with scarred, sunken areas as well as spongy areas. While you can’t see bite marks from the outside of the fruit, stink bugs cause tissue damage inside the fruit.

The damage looks like dark brown, rotten spots when you cut into it

Those in the farming industry said the arrival of the bug reverses decades of advancement in pest control for crops.

Farmers were using safer and more natural ways to control bugs in their fields but the invasion of the stink bug caused pesticide use to shoot up four-fold

That has a trickle-down effect on the agricultural economy because some manufacturers will not take products that have been heavily treated with pesticides.

While most people are familiar with the brown stink bug, other varieties are living in colonies in the United States. The Bagrada bugs are black and orange and feed on things like broccoli and leafy greens. 

The Consperse stink bug is large, about one-half inch long, with a grayish-brown or green color and the Harlequin bug isn’t one to love either. It has a black body with some orange, red, or and yellow patterns on it. 

Are Stinkbugs Harmless?

Stinkbugs, as destructive as they can be to crops, are harmless to humans.

They don’t bite or sting and don’t chew up homes as other bugs such as termites do. The secretions from their stink can cause an eye infection if you rub your eye after killing one but don’t affect most people.

Some people who are allergic to other types of insects can also be allergic to stink bugs. 

The Stink Bug’s Life Cycle

Stink bugs live between six and eight months but are busy during that entire time. They have three life stages from egg, to nymph to adult. Their life starts when eggs are laid in heavy ground cover or think foliage. 

The eggs are typically red or orange and can be found on the underside of leaves. That may be the best time to control the population as you can see the barrel-shaped eggs easily.

A female stink bug can lay 500 eggs over the course of its lifetime producing several egg broods over a year. This is one reason why they have spread over so much of the United States over the past 23 years.

Stink bugs begin to hatch late spring and go through five molts until they develop their fully-grown adult wings in the last molt.

While they crawl slowly, they can fly quickly.

Young stink bugs don’t look anything like the adults. They are red or orange with black dots on them and some may even mistake them for a ladybug. The nymphs stay clustered together until they get older and then scatter to separate places. 

Where Do Stink Bugs Live?

Before they decide to come to your house, stink bugs live along creeks and areas where berries grow. They love weedy areas that have water sources.

These bugs tend to be worse in years when there is considerable rain and warm temperatures where weeds grow later into the summer. 

The bugs start moving in and around homes in September and October, looking for a warm place to spend the winter. You can see them attaching themselves to the exterior sides of houses until they find a crack or small space to enter. 

The good part is these bugs don’t lay eggs in homes, so don’t have to worry about hidden nests. What you see is what you get with these bugs, but for some, that is enough.

Stinkbugs Are Hard To Remove

The problem with stink bugs is they move like an army into a home and can quickly take over. Such was the case at the South Carolina home of Pam Stone and Paul Zimmerman. 

Stone left a window open in their bedroom one October to enjoy the crisp fall area only to find thousands of stink bugs invaded in just a few short hours while they were watching television downstairs. 

They scooped them up and disposed of the critters outside and thought they were done, only to find hundreds more behind picture frames and in dresser drawers.

The couple had to strip everything, wash everything and implement an all-out attack on the bugs

Stone said they had to treat the bedroom like a hazmat scene and stayed up all night to deal with the bugs.

Stone said she has never fully gotten rid of them. A few still show up regularly, either in the bathroom or in a favorite sweater. A couple even showed up during her interview about the bugs with a national magazine reporter.

More Than 26,000 Stink Bugs Found

Another man decided to count the stink bugs he found in his home over time. He stopped six months later when his count reached 26,205 bugs.

How Do You Get Rid Of Them?

Bug experts advise not to use insecticides to try to rid your home of stink bugs. They claim that dead stink bugs falling to pesticides will draw other bugs who feed on them.

Instead, you will need to have a six-faceted attack to get rid of the creatures. 

  1. Get rid of taller weeds and heavy, leafy foliage around your home and in your yard. These bugs look for these things as cover and breeding. Keeping leafy and grassy areas short will limit their breeding areas.
  2. Prevent bed bugs from coming into your home by sealing all cracks, caulking windows, and looking for any type of space they can crawl or fly through. Make sure screens on windows and doors don’t have any holes or openings around the edges.
  3. One home remedy is to mix blue Dawn and white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray around windows and doors. Apparently, the stink bugs don’t like the smell and avoid the area.
  4. Capture them and take them outside to kill them. You don’t want to kill these awful odorous bugs in the house. Pick them up with a plastic bag so they won’t start stinking as a defense mechanism and then go outside
  5. Check your light fixtures regularly. These bugs tend to finish off their life cycle in a light fixture. Keeping the fixtures clean will avoid more being attracted to the decaying smell.
  6. Vacuum more often. This will suck up any bugs or decay they leave behind.

Unfortunately, professional pest control services won’t help the stink bug invasion. The best solution is prevention


Stink bugs are an invasive nuisance everyone could do without. However, these ugly bugs won’t be going away anytime soon, so you should learn how to control their populations around your home and prevent them from invading your space with practical solutions like sealing up openings and cleaning more often during fall.

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

What Are Stink Bugs Good For? 7 Things You Didn’t Know

Where Do Ants Live in Winter?

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 https://schoolofbugs.com/about-steve-foster/

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