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Green Stink Bug


Green Stink Bug

In-Depth Downloads

Pest Symptoms / Injury ID

green stink bug on soybean pods


Soybean pods damaged by green stink bugs (left). Feeding proboscis of green stink bug (right).
  • Prefer to feed on tender growth and developing seeds
    • Stink bugs feed by injecting digestive enzymes using a piercing sucking proboscis
    • These toxic enzymes dissolve the tissue which can then be re-ingested as through a straw
  • Feeding may cause delayed maturity, green stem and abnormal pods
  • Seeds fed upon may be shriveled, deformed, undersized or aborted
  • In cases of viral infections, hyaline bleeding such as with this soybean mosaic virus can occur

Pest ID

red-banded green stink bug

A red-banded green stink bug.


Most green stink bugs are about 1/2 to 5/8 inches long.

They can be readily identified by:

  • The general shield shape (see below - top arrow)
  • The internal triangle formed by the wing cover margins (see below - middle arrow)
  • The clear forewing area of the wing tips (see below - bottom arrow)
shield shape of green stink bug


Pest Facts

Green stink bugs have a clear forewing area of the wing tips
  • Species of green stink bugs in soybeans:
    • Green stink bug = Acrosternum hilare
    • Southern green stink bug = Nezara viridula
    • Red-banded stink bug = Piezodorus guildinii
    • Red-shouldered stink bug = Thyanta accerra
  • Only Acrosternum green stink bugs are native to North America; others are imported pests
  • Normally wild host plants are preferred, but they may also include alfalfa, soybean, wheat, corn, clover, tobacco, apple, pear, pecan and tomato
  • Stink bugs are especially troublesome in cotton where they affect the lint directly
  • Stink bugs may cause severe yield and quality losses
  • Losses in southern states have reached $68 million annually from crop damage and insecticide costs

Impact on Crop

Stink bug nymphs feeding on seed through pod wall
Stink bug nymphs feeding on seed through pod wall
  • Favorable conditions:
    • Stink bugs are most problematic when appearing in soybean fields during pod fill and maturation
    • Late-planted and late-maturing soybeans
    • Fields with broadleaf weed growth, especially shepherd’s purse
    • May be more numerous near field edges

Stink Bug Life Cycle

 stink bug life cycle
  • Develop with incomplete metamorphosis
  • Eggs are shaped like a beer barrel, laid in clusters
  • Nymphs congregate after hatching
  • Nymphs have 5 instars
  • Nymphs are brightly colored and lack fully developed wings

Management Considerations

scouting for stink bugs
  • Currently no native resistance or transgenic offerings are effective
  • Some damage may be avoided by earlier planting, especially in the North
  • Use a drop cloth or sweep net to estimate stink bug densities
  • Economic threshold varies
    • 1/3 to 1 stink bug per foot of row during bloom through mid pod-fill stages may warrant treatment
    • As the beans mature, less damage can be prevented and the return from treating is lower
  • Biological controls
    • Beneficial insects have only a small impact on stink bug populations
  • Natural enemies:
    • Parasitic flies will lay eggs on adults, hatching maggots, then burrow into stink bugs and feed from within
    • Stink bugs are largely protected from predators by their foul smell and bad taste