There are four predatory stink bugs found in the U.S., mostly in southern states.
Anchor stink bugs
Anchor stink bugs (Stiretrus anchorago) are from Central and North America. They occur in several different color variations, ranging from black, white, and tan, to orange or red and black, to green and yellow.
Florida predatory stink bugs
Found predominantly in the southeastern U.S., Florida predatory stink bugs (Euthyrhynchus floridanus) hunt grasshoppers and other garden pests. They go after these larger insects by hunting in packs of up to twelve individuals. These bugs are just under ¾” long and bluish-black or purplish-brown with red rear ends with black markings, though they also come in a variety of colors. They have sturdier snouts than their sap-sucking cousins.
Giant strong-nosed stink bugs
The giant strong-nosed stink bug (Alcaeorrhynchus grandis) is found in South and Central America as well as in southern U.S. states. These bugs can be nearly 1” long and they have two distinct points on their backs. They tend to be variegated brown with dark bands on their legs and dark spots on their bellies. Some individuals are red with black leg bands. Unlike the smaller egg clusters of other stink bugs, the giants lay eggs in masses of 100-200 eggs. Nymphs have a bluish-black thorax and red abdomens with dark stripes.
Spined soldier bugs
Spined soldier bugs (Podisus maculiventris) are found throughout North America. They prefer feeding on the larvae of cabbage loopers, Colorado potato beetles, diamondback moth caterpillars, European corn borers, flea beetles, gypsy moths, imported cabbageworm larvae, Mexican bean beetles, and velveteen caterpillars, so count yourself lucky if you have these hunters in your landscape. You can even buy spined soldier bugs eggs to add to your IPM program.
As you search your garden for stink bugs, with a bucket of soapy water in hand, keep in mind that not all of them are bad. Sorting between beneficial and pest stink bugs is made a little easier because many predators tend to be more brightly colored and patterned.
Which types of stink bugs have you seen?
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