What Do Stink Bugs Eat in Winter: A Surprising Survival Strategy

What Do Stink Bugs Eat in Winter?

Stink bugs eat plant material, fruits, and vegetables in winter.

When they enter homes, they may also feed on ornamental plants, produce scraps, and fruit bowls if inside.

Stink bugs do not eat, bite, or reproduce indoors, but they explore surfaces and bump into things due to diapause.

Key Points:

  • Stink bugs eat plant material, fruits, and vegetables during winter
  • In homes, stink bugs may also feed on ornamental plants, produce scraps, and fruit bowls
  • Stink bugs do not eat, bite, or reproduce indoors
  • Stink bugs explore surfaces and bump into things due to diapause indoors

Did You Know?

1. Did you know that stink bugs feed on a wide variety of plants during winter, but they are particularly attracted to soybeans? This can lead to significant damage to soybean crops, making them a pest for farmers during the winter months.

2. Stink bugs have a unique feeding behavior in winter called “piercing and sucking.” They use their piercing mouthparts to extract fluids from plants, causing damage by draining the sap and leaving behind small necrotic spots.

3. While stink bugs primarily feed on plants, they can also be opportunistic scavengers in winter. If their preferred food sources become scarce, these versatile insects can resort to consuming dead insects or even small animal carcasses.

4. To survive the harsh winter conditions, stink bugs undergo a process called diapause, which is similar to hibernation. During diapause, their metabolic activity decreases, allowing them to conserve energy and survive for several months without feeding.

5. Stink bugs have been known to seek shelter in human-made structures, including homes and buildings, during the winter. They can find their way inside through small openings and crevices, seeking warmth and protection from the cold temperatures outside.

Stink Bugs: A Threat To Crops And Fruit

Stink bugs are notorious pests that can wreak havoc on crops and fruit, causing significant damage and reducing yields. These polyphagous insects have a wide range of food preferences and are known to feed on various plants, fruits, and vegetables.

  • Their feeding habits can be detrimental to agricultural industries and gardens alike.
  • When stink bugs infest crops, they pierce the fruits and vegetables with their specialized mouthparts to suck out the juices and sap.
  • This feeding behavior not only causes bruising and decay but also provides an entry point for pathogens, increasing the risk of plant diseases.
  • Farmers and gardeners often face the challenge of dealing with stink bug damage, which can lead to substantial economic losses.
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It is important to note that not all stink bugs are solely destructive. Some species of stink bugs actually serve a beneficial purpose by feeding on other insects.

  • These predatory stink bugs can help control populations of crop-destroying insects, acting as natural pest control agents.
  • Their presence in agricultural fields can be a welcome addition, provided the balance between predatory and pest species remains intact.

Stink bugs, with their destructive feeding habits, pose a significant threat to crops and fruit. However, not all stink bugs are harmful; some species can actually serve as natural pest control agents by preying on other insects.

The Surprising Diet Of Stink Bugs

Stink bugs are renowned for their diverse diet, which encompasses a wide array of plants, fruits, and vegetables. These polyphagous insects demonstrate their ability to adapt their feeding habits based on the availability of food sources. However, their primary diet is comprised of plant juices and sap, which they obtain by piercing the surface of fruits and vegetables.

During the winter season, when food sources become scarce, stink bugs often unintentionally or deliberately seek refuge in homes. Once indoors, they may rely on alternative food sources to ensure their survival. Stink bugs have been observed feeding on ornamental plants, produce scraps, and even fruit left in bowls. This unexpected behavior presents a nuisance for homeowners as infestations can lead to unpleasant encounters with stink bugs and potential damage to household plants.

Stink Bugs: Unwanted House Guests In Winter

During winter, stink bugs seek warm places to overwinter. Homes offer ideal shelter to protect them from the harsh weather conditions outside. Stink bugs can be found in walls, attics, crawl spaces, and other secluded areas where they remain dormant until spring.

  • Stink bugs do not eat, bite, or reproduce indoors.
  • They enter a diapause state during winter, reducing their metabolic activity.
  • Although they may unintentionally roam around indoor surfaces, stink bugs pose no direct threat to humans or the structural integrity of the house.

“Stink bugs do not eat, bite, or reproduce indoors. They enter a diapause state during winter, reducing their metabolic activity.”

How To Deal With A Stink Bug Infestation

If you are dealing with a stink bug infestation, it is best to seek assistance from pest control professionals. They have the expertise and tools necessary to effectively handle these pests and ensure long-term prevention.

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Chemical insecticides are generally not effective against stink bugs and may even attract other insects, exacerbating the problem. Therefore, it is recommended to rely on alternative methods for managing the infestation. Some options include:

  • Using mint essential oil
  • Using neem oil
  • Applying diatomaceous earth powder
  • Using garlic spray
  • Vacuuming
  • Using soapy water
  • Using fly tape

Removing stink bugs from your home can be a meticulous task, but with diligence and persistence, it is possible to minimize their presence and prevent future infestations. By addressing potential entry points and employing preventive measures, you can effectively manage stink bugs in your home.

Effective Tips For Preventing Stink Bugs From Entering Your Home

Preventing stink bugs from entering your home during winter can save you from the annoyance of dealing with their presence. There are several effective tips you can follow to minimize the chances of these pests invading your living space.

  1. Start by caulking cracks and crevices around windows and doors, as well as any other potential entry points.
  2. Applying a fine mesh screen over air vents can help prevent stink bugs from infiltrating your house.
  3. Natural deterrents such as dryer sheets have been found to repel stink bugs, so strategically placing them around the house can be beneficial.

Another useful method is using a long-handled stink bug catcher to physically remove the insects without coming into direct contact with them. Additionally, setting up a pan with soapy water and a light source can serve as a trap, effectively capturing stink bugs.

Regular maintenance and inspection of your house are essential in preventing stink bug infestations. This includes caulking, weather stripping, replacing rubber seals, patching screens, squishing stink bugs, and using homemade stink bug sprays. By adopting these practices, you can reduce the likelihood of stink bugs entering your home and ensure a more comfortable living environment during the winter months.

  • Caulk cracks and crevices
  • Use a fine mesh screen on air vents
  • Place dryer sheets strategically
  • Use a long-handled stink bug catcher
  • Set up a pan with soapy water and light as a trap
  • Regular maintenance and inspection

“Preventing stink bugs from entering your home during winter can save you from the annoyance of dealing with their presence.”


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Frequently Asked Questions

What temperature kills stink bugs?

Stink bugs, those pesky insects, have specific temperature thresholds for their demise. Based on research by Dr. Jeff Davis at LSU, it takes 4 hours of exposure to 23°F to eliminate half of the population. However, if you can sustain temperatures at 23°F for a longer duration of 7 hours, you can successfully eradicate 90% of the stink bug population. While a week of sustained temperatures at 32°F can eliminate 95% of the stink bug population, it is noteworthy that these insects are surprisingly resilient to the cold.

What does a stink bug eat?

Stink bugs have quite the diverse diet, as they primarily feed on various fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Using their strawlike mouthparts, adult stink bugs suck and extract nutrients from plants. They can target a wide range of crops, including beans, tomatoes, apples, and stone fruits. Unfortunately, their feeding habits often result in blemishes on fleshy plant parts and unpleasant drops of dark excrement, which can mar the overall appearance of plants.

Do stink bugs like winter?

Stink bugs do not particularly enjoy the winter season. Although they do seek shelter under bark, on tree branches, or in crevices near the ground or wall during this time, it is mainly to protect themselves from the harsh weather conditions. Their preference for warmer temperatures becomes evident as they emerge and become active during the springtime, when temperatures start to increase. During this period, they engage in their usual plant consumption, preparing for a new and abundant season of life.

What kills stink bugs?

Stink bugs meet their demise when confronted with the power of soapy water. By filling a jar with a mixture of soapy water, and adding a dash of vinegar, one can strategically place it beneath a stink bug to witness its inevitable demise in the suds. Additionally, a mixture of hot water and dish soap can be used as a spray to deter stink bugs from entering through windowsills, ultimately leading to their untimely demise.

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