Green Stink Bug | Pioneer® Seeds

Key Points

  • Stink bugs are most problematic when appearing in soybean fields during pod fill and maturation.
  • Stink bugs feed on new growth and developing seeds by injecting digestive enzymes using a piercing sucking proboscis.
  • Seeds fed upon may be shriveled, deformed, undersized, or aborted.
  • Stink bugs may cause severe yield and quality losses.

Pest Facts

  • 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.

Photo - Green stink bug beetle - closeup

Green stink bug

Impact on Crop

  • 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.

Photo - Stink bug nymphs feeding on seed through pod wall.

Stink bug nymphs feeding on seed through pod wall.

Pest Symptoms / Injury ID

  • Prefer to feed on tender growth and developing seeds.
    • Stink bugs feed by injecting digestive enzymes using a piercing sucking proboscis.

      Photo - Green stink bug - feeding tube

    • These toxic enzymes dissolve the tissue which can then be re-ingested as through a straw.

Photo - Green stink bug beetle feeding on soybean pods

  • 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.

    Photo - Soybeans affected by soybean mosaic virus

Pest ID

  • Most green stinkbugs are about 1/2 to 5/8 inches long
  • They can be readily identified by:
    1. The general shield shape
    2. The internal triangle formed by the wing cover margin
    3. The clear forewing area of the wing tips

Photo - Stink bug adult with shield outlined.

Photo - Stink bug adult with shield outlined.

A red-banded green stink bug; the red is even more pronounced on the red-shouldered green stink bug.

Stink Bug Life Cycle

  • Develop with incomplete metamorphosis.
  • Eggs are “beer-barrel” shaped, laid in clusters.
  • Nymphs congregate after hatching.
  • Nymphs have five instars.
  • Nymphs are brightly colored and lack fully developed wings

Photo - Green stink bug beetle

Click here or on the image above for a larger view

Management Considerations

  • 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.

Photo - Using a drop cloth to estimate stink bug density

Using a drop cloth



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. All products are trademarks of their manufacturers.