Stink Bugs - Little Bugs with Stinky Defense
During the warm months of spring and summer we have all come across a bug or two. What about those stink bugs, have you ever really smelled them? Stink bugs have been around for hundreds of years and have evolved over the course of time. These seemingly harmless bugs have a defense mechanism that maybe some of us wish we had. As humans we cannot even fathom what kind of smell really is coming from the stink bug. It is a kind of putrid smell, but a purposeful smell, the odor is to deter predators and scare them off. This is its single defense against becoming bug food, so it really must work like a charm. It releases its stinky liquid when predators approach or can even be released if it is handled roughly. It is certainly not a good idea to crush them.
A Bug by any other name…
Just like we may have a nick name that we go by, stink bugs too have other names that they recognized by, such as shield bugs and chust bugs. They do have quite a resemblance to a shield which totally sets them apart from other bugs. They also come in all shapes sizes and of course colors like brown, green and red just to name a few. They can be inconspicuous and tiny though so you might not notice them unless you go looking around.
Where do they live?
These stink or shield bugs live all over the world. Some are more prone to live in certain areas because of climate but some variation of stink bug is likely to twiddle and rest its antennae in just about every locale. There are as many as 7000 species so there are plenty to have had adapted to each environment on the planet where there is tasty vegetation or else tasty bugs. But if one shield bug lives in the rain forest for example, its adaptations will likely make life in the desert of Arizona unbearable and vice versa.
They are a great breed of bugs that overall are harmless, unless there are large populations. When there are numbers, there can be damage to foliage, crops, etc. but if left alone, they usually don’t make trouble. Sometimes environmental turmoil and/or ecosystem changes have caused a big mass of the bugs to appear in and around people’s homes. If a vacuum cleaner can’t handle the task, professional pest control should have a remedy. In the US, invasive Asian stink bugs (the brown marmorated) have been causing a ruckus with some gardeners by eating their favorite plants or invading their houses.