Green Stink Bug


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

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

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

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