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Different Types Of Stink Bugs

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By Henry Moorecroft
Thursday, November 18, 2010
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Henry Moorecroft

Henry Moorecroft, leading the war against all things stink bug! He shares all in his latest ebook. Henry is a father of one daughter, ellie, and is married to Yolanda. Together they enjoy their quiet lives together taking care of their dog, Chandler. Henry works full time as a store manager while his wife is an active member of the local bowls club. Henry's personal interests include, travelling, badminton and chess.

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The arrival of brown marmorated stink bugs from Asia to the United States some 12 years ago is causing quite a commotion since areas previously unaffected by them are presently experiencing an infestation of these bugs. This type of stink bug first made its appearance in the United States in Pennsylvania, eventually spreading to other Mid-Atlantic States. Since then, states such as Oregon in the Pacific Northwest have become acquainted with this Asian variety of stink bugs. Altogether, they have been seen in 29 states.

Brown marmorated stink bugs may be relative latecomers to American shores, but there are many other varieties of stink bugs that have been around for a long time. The nezara viridula and the acrosternum hilare, two different varieties of green stink bugs, are said to have arrived from Africa several centuries ago and are found in Kentucky and states further south.

With their dark green, grey, or brown colouration, many species of stink bugs are dull in colour in order to blend in with their surroundings; others, however, are quite colourful and striking in appearance. Take the Harlequin bug, murgantia histrionica, which is black with bright red, orange, or yellow markings. The Two-Spotted Stink Bug, coloured red and black, is another bright stink bug, as is the Red-Shouldered Stink Bug.   

All stink bugs belong to the order Hemiptera – the order to which plant bugs and assassin bugs also belong. Common among insects in this order are their piercing and sucking mouthparts, as opposed to the chewing mouthparts of beetles and other insects. Also, their wings are membranous rather than hard, and they overlap rather than meet in the middle as do those of beetles and other insects. What distinguishes stink bugs from other members of Hemiptera is their broad, shield-shaped bodies, their 5-segmented antennae, and their large scutellums, the triangular part of their thorax. Although all insects have scutellums, those of stink bugs are noticeably enlarged. Stink bugs, when full grown, range in size from ¼ to ¾ inches.

The majority of stink bugs are herbivorous, feeding on different kinds of plants. Using their sharp probosces, they puncture the skin of their preferred plant and suck its juices. Although they do not render the fruit or crop inedible for human consumption, they do leave disfiguring marks on the portion of the fruit or vegetable they’ve sucked on, making it unattractive and difficult to market. Thus, if there are plentiful quantities of them present, they have the potential of inflicting major crop damage. The other type of stink bug is the predatory one. 

Predatory stink bugs prey on other insects, particularly pests, and thus can serve an important beneficial service to farmers. Using their sucking mouthparts, they drain the fluid from their insect prey. The Spined Soldier Bug, or podisus maculiventris, is one type of predatory stink bug.  Found in gardens, weedy areas, or fields where crops grow, these stink bugs feed on caterpillars and other slow-moving insects and are advantageous for farmers to have around.

SUBMITTED BY : dontworryaboutit
DATE SUBMITTED : Sunday, April 10, 2011
Listen, I live in Pennsylvania and have my whole life. I also do a bit of traveling on the east coast, and I have never seen or even heard of a stink bug (and neither has anyone I know) until the nationwide plague already began. That whole 'they came 12 years ago' story is bullshit. So whoever knows what they really are and where they really came from, the rest of us being affected by this nuisance deserves to know!...
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