Brown Stinkbug – Euschistus servus


Brown Stinkbug – Euschistus servus
Family Pentatomidae (Stink Bugs)

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Live stinkbug photographed at DuPage County, Illinois.

Brown Stink Bug
 A quick burst from those huge flying wings and this guy will disappear as if by magic.
Stink Bug Eggs
Stink bug eggs on underside of maple tree leaf. Each egg is just 1mm in diameter (about .04 inch).

Stink bugs deposit their eggs on the underside of leaves in clusters with tight rows of individual barrel-shaped eggs. After overwintering, adult females seek out suitable hosts in early spring and deposit their eggs on host plants. Often these overwintering populations are found along field borders, particularly along tree lines near their overwintering sites.

Stink bugs feed on many varieties of plants, including native and ornamental trees, shrubs, vines, weeds, and many cultivated crops. Stink bugs inflict mechanical injury to the seed as well as transmit the yeast-spot disease organism. The degree of damage caused by this pest depends to some extent on the developmental stage of the seed when it is pierced by the stink bug's needlelike mouthparts. The younger the seed when damaged, the greater the yield reduction. [2]

Later-developing cultivated plants become more attractive when these initial wild hosts dry down, and their proximity allows easy access for stink bug colonization in crops. Shortly after egg deposition and hatching, emerging nymphs are gregarious in habit and remain on or near the egg mass. As they develop, they begin to feed and disperse.

Stink bugs feed on developing seed of many hosts including trees, shrubs, vines, weeds and many cultivated crops. They may also feed on the stems and foliage when seed are not present. Both nymph and adult stink bugs pierce plants with their needlelike mouthparts and suck sap from pods, buds, blossoms and seeds. Predatory stinkbugs like those featured here do the same thing to their mostly insect prey.

The family name, Pentatomidae, comes from the Greek "pente" (five) + "tomos" (a section); perhaps a reference to the 5-segmented antennae, or perhaps a reference to the body, which when viewed from above appears to be divided into 5 large sections. The scutellum is the largest section.

Brown Stinkbug - Euschistus servus
Early Spring (March 22) brown stinkbug, near Chicago
Late season stink bug
Late season stink bug, very active in mid-October

Stink bugs get their common name from the foul-smelling fluids they exude when disturbed. Both adults and nymphs have large glands that discharge underneath the body.  Stinkbugs are shy, I can tell you – and they will fly off very quickly if you get in their face.

Several species of insects that feed on peaches and other fruits early in the growing season cause a gnarling and distortion of the fruits called catfacing. Plant bugs and stink bugs, called catfacing insects, are largely responsible for this type of injury. They suck the sap from the fruit. If the peaches do not fall as a result of this attack, fruit development is inhibited in the area of the punctures. The surrounding healthy tissue continues to grow thereby causing a defect resembling a cat’s face. 

References

  1. Bugguide.net, Brown Stinkbug – Euschistus servus
  2. Alfred G. Wheeler and Sir T. Richard E. Southwood FRS, Biology of the Plant Bugs
  3. American Museum of Natural History, National Science Foundation and University of New South Wales, Plant Bug Planetary Biodiversity Inventory, Plant Bugs (Miridae)

Order Hemiptera: True Bugs number almost 5,000 species in North America, and 40,000 worldwide. They have mouthparts formed into a beak, adapted for sucking plant juices or the liquefied insides of their animal prey.
Suborder Auchenorrhyncha – Cicadas & Planthoppers
Suborder Sternorrhyncha – Aphids, scales, mealybugs, jumping plant lice
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