Stink bug life cycle

Stink bug life cycleThere are numerous species of stink bugs with over 200 of them found in North America alone. Despite their countless species, they mostly undergo the same life cycle. They pass five stages before adulthood and this may take three months after eggs are laid. During this time, they feed on almost everything available. Stink bugs do not like hot weather and they tend to migrate when weather becomes unbearable. However, the longer growing season in the south makes them reproduce more frequently, thus south contains the highest population.


When winter disappears and spring draws closer, Stink bugs unhides themselves from hibernation and they come to the ground looking for something to eat. Mostly female comes out carrying eggs on their back and at this time, they find somewhere to lay them. Alternatively, the adult male will mate with the female in spring. Depending on the type of species and the climate the species is in, they lay eggs in different times of the year.


During hatching, they find a hidden place like the underneath of a leaf to protect them from direct sun light and predators like birds and lizards. These eggs are white in color although they later change to pink depending on the species. The laid eggs are in lines of clasps with 130 per clasp, they hatch after few weeks depending on the climate. Stink bugs adult guards their eggs until nymph comes out and they are now satisfied and they can continue with their movements.


This is the first stage of this pests. They will take few seconds to move out of the crust and when the first one is through, the rest will be out within no time. Nymphs do not have wings, they are green in color with few black spots and they consume a lot.


In this stage, the young nymphs will change its appearance four times before being an adult. During each molt (change of appearance), the black spots becomes dark green resembling an adult. The first molt occurs after 3-4 days and the rest are one after the other.


Adult Stink bugs may feed on insects or plants depending on the species. The adult may lay eggs after the final stage of molt. They may mate up to four times a year, which may take few days or few minutes and the life cycle continues. At this stage, their irritating behavior of emitting a malodorous smell is fully settled and they are ready to use it when need arises.

If a large number of these pests happen to go through this cycle at the same time, there is a very big threat to plants and everything these pests are interested in. They are capable of eating, digesting and excreting within a very short time thus, consuming a lot of “food”. Scientists are now inventing on how to eliminate their eggs just before and after they are laid in order to stop their high rate of reproduction.