Key Points

  • Brown stink bugs can be found nearly everywhere in North America.
  • Brown stink bug injury to corn occurs primarily during the early vegetative stages.
  • Plants with injured stalks or growing points may be stunted, tiller, or may die and significant stand loss can occur under heavy infestation.
  • No-till corn planted into heavy cover, such as winter wheat straw, heavy winter annual weeds, or a cover crop has a higher risk of brown stink bug damage.

Pest Facts

  • Native North American species are brown stink bugs (BSB) of  Euschistus sp., including E. Servus and E. Variolarius.
  • Introduced from Asia is the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) 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 homeowners as they congregate in homes for shelter.

Photo - adult brown stink bug beetle

Adult brown stink bug. Characteristics include brown color, shield-shape, 1/2-inch length, with piercing and sucking mouthparts. It has a distinctive triangular shaped area on back and produces a strong odor when disturbed.

Impact on Corn

  • Most injury to corn occurs from 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 can occur in heavily infested fields.
  • Ears of slowed plants may mature late and will have poor kernel fill.

    Photo - corn plant severely damaged from insect feeding - early in season.

Photos - corn plants and leaves suffering damage from insect feeding.


  • At least one species of brown stink bug can be found 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.

Life Cycle

  • Develop with incomplete metamorphosis
  • Eggs are “beer-barrel” shaped, laid in clusters
  • Nymphs congregate after hatching
  • Nymphs lack fully developed wings

Timeline - brown stink bug life cycle

Click here or on the image above for a larger view.

Management Considerations

  • If given time after spring weed control, adults will leave most fields in search of food elsewhere.
  • Fields needing early scouting:
    • no-till into heavy cover, such as winter wheat straw, heavy winter annual weeds, or a cover crop
    • history of stink bug injury
    • edges with cover, such as shelterbelts
    • broadleaf weeds, especially shepherd’s purse, killed after corn emergence
  • Stink bugs can feed in the open seed slots. In no-till fields with the potential for 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.
  • 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.

Key Characteristics

Stink Bugs / Brown Stink Bug

Photo - adult brown stink bug - shield outline
  • Shield-shaped insect of the true bug group
  • About 3/8 inch to 1/2 inch in length
  • Front 1/2 of wings are leathery, last 1/2 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

Photo - beneficial Spined Soldier Bug
  • Slightly smaller than the BSB or BMSB
  • Usually has a yellow cast with yellow underside
  • More prominent spines on shoulder

The foregoing is provided for informational use only. Please contact your Pioneer sales professional for information and suggestions specific to your operation. Product performance is variable and depends on many factors such as moisture and heat stress, soil type, management practices and environmental stress as well as disease and pest pressures. Individual results may vary. Pioneer® brand products are provided subject to the terms and conditions of purchase which are part of the labeling and purchase documents.