Green stink bugs are probably the easiest to spot in mulch and wood piles and one of the hardest to see among your plants.
Common green stink bugs (Acrosternum hilare and Chinavia hilaris), also known as green soldier bugs, are bright green with red, orange, or yellow edges. One oddball is bright orange! Adults are ½ to ¾ inches long. Nymphs have bright dark bodies with orange edges near the front and yellow on the back.
Barrel-shaped eggs are laid on the underside of leaves in double rows of twelve or more eggs. Eggs are also commonly found on the stems of salvia.
A smelly subject
Stink bugs get their name because they can smell bad. Both adults and larvae have large stink glands. When they are disturbed, they spew those smelly chemicals to deter potential predators. [Generally speaking, even my hens avoid them, which is a shame when you consider all the damage they can do.]
Green stink bug damage
Green stink bugs are found throughout North America. Using their piercing mouthparts, they damage a wide variety of garden and tree crops. The juicy fruits of apple, cherry, orange, and peach trees are common targets, leaving behind a trail of corky fruits prone to fungal diseases and other problems. As green stink bugs mature, they shift their focus to the seeds, stems, and leaves of beans, corn, eggplant, peas, soybeans, and tomatoes.
Green stink bug lookalikes
Green stink bugs are differentiated from southern stink bugs (Nezara viridula) by their black outermost antennal segments. There is one other green stink bug, Chinavia pensylvanica (no common name), found rarely in Maryland. That species has a more arched back (if you’re into that sort of thing).
Green stink bug control
Tachinid flies and parasitic wasps will lay their eggs in green stink bug eggs to provide a handy meal for their young, but there are often not enough of them to control a bad stink bug problem. Pheromone traps can be used, as well, but those traps attract pests which I find counterproductive. Those traps are used more effectively as monitoring tools.
As with other stink bugs, the best control methods are being alert and handpicking. If you drop stinkbugs into a container of soapy water, the smell isn’t a problem.
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!
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