Do Stink Bugs Bite?

A relatively destructive insect (garden pest) found throughout the New England area is the stink bug. The native green stink bug and the invasive brown marmorated stink bug both feed on fruit and vegetable crops harvested for human consumption such as apples, cherries, beans, peaches, and tomatoes. In addition, the stink bug may also feed on native and flowering trees. With straw-like piercing mouth parts, the insect may leave scarring or dead marks on the fed on produce, making marketing of the crops quite difficult and the products inedible for human consumption, due to the possibility of pathogens passing between the insect and the fruit.

With piercing mouthparts, many may assume that the stink bug bites. The insect has not been known to bite humans or pets, as the same mouthparts used for sucking nutrients out of fruits are unadaptable to biting. The primary stink bug defense mechanism is the release of a malodorous scent from glands on the abdomen of the insect. The stink bug will release the foul-smelling odor whenever threatened or when squished. Though leaving a lasting smell, the insect nor the released chemical is poisonous to humans or pets.