Brown Stink Bug

Pest ID - Brown Stink Bug

Brown stink bug and spined soldier bug

Stink Bug / Brown Stink Bug (top arrow in photo above) and Spined Soldier Bug (bottom arrow in photo above)

Stink Bug / Brown Stink Bug

  • Shield-shaped insect of the true bug group
  • About 3/8inch to 1/2 inch in length
  • Front half of wings are leathery, last half usually membranous
  • Triangular scutelum separates thorax and abdomen
  • Sucking mouthparts
  • Brown mottled above, green or yellow below

Do not confuse with Spined Soldier Bug – predatory and considered beneficial

  • Slightly smaller than the brown stink bugs or brown marmorated stink bug
  • Usually has a yellow cast with yellow underside
  • More prominent spines on shoulder


Brown stink bug damage in corn field
  • There is a species of brown stink bug nearly everywhere in North America
  • Native species are more prevalent in the Southeast, Northeast into Canada and West to British Columbia
  • Introduced species, such as brown marmorated stink bug, can be found from California to the East coast and are rapidly spreading to the North and South


Brown stink bug and corn damage
  • Native North American species are brown stink bugs of Euschistus sp., including E. Servus and E. Variolarius
  • Introduced from Asia is the brown marmorated stink bug Halyomorpha Halys
  • Hosts: row crops or herbaceous plants like corn, soybeans, vegetables and alfalfa; or woody plants like fruit and forest trees
  • Stinkbugs feed with piercing and sucking mouthparts, similarly to mosquitoes. Mouthparts pierce the surface, inject an enzyme, then re-ingest the dissolved plant material
  • Stink bugs feed on growing plants and may cause misshapen or stunted plants that grow improperly
  • They also feed on fruit and seeds, causing blemishes and seriously impacting quality
  • Some species are a winter nuisance to home owners as they congregate in homes for shelter

Life Cycle

Brown stink bug annual life cycle
  • Develop with incomplete metamorphosis
  • Eggs are beer barrel-shaped, laid in clusters
  • Nymphs congregate after hatching
  • Nymphs lack fully developed wing

Impact on Crop

brown stink bug feeding on corn plant
  • Most injury occurs to seedling through V5 vegetative stage
  • Feeding through rolled leaves creates a repeating pattern of holes
  • Holes may be small to very elongated with yellow “halos”
  • Plants with injured stalks or growing points may be stunted, tiller, or may die
  • Significant stand loss in heavily infested fields
  • Ears of slowed plants may mature late and will have poor kernel fill
brown stink bug feeding on corn leaf
brown stink bug feeding on corn leaf

Management Considerations for Brown Stink Bug

  • If given time after spring weed control, adults are winged and will leave most fields in search of food elsewhere
  • Fields needing early scouting:
    • no-till into heavy cover, such as winter wheat straw or heavy winter annual weeds
    • history of stink bug injury
    • edges with cover, such as shelterbelts
    • broadleaf weeds, especially shepherd’s purse, killed after corn emergence
  • No-till fields with poor seed-furrow closure, manage down pressure, residue and closure appropriately
  • Insecticide seed treatments may give some relief but the large size of the pest and feeding method make it difficult to control
  • Where severe damage is expected it may be possible to apply a labeled pesticide for adult control with pre-emergence weed control or no-till burn down
  • Currently there are no transgenic products available for sucking insects
  • Natural Enemies
    • There are a few natural enemies, such as a Tachinid fly that parasitize stink bugs, but they cannot be depended on to control damaging populations