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Ask an Ag Student by Kutztown FFA: Why do Stinkbugs stink?

Monday, March 18, 2013

We all have at some time or another have experienced the appalling smell produce by a stinkbug. The odors extracted from stinkbugs are a form of self-defense. Similarly, bees sting and spiders bite when they feel they are endangered. When a stinkbug feels that it is in danger, it will release a mixture of chemicals producing an unpleasant smell or taste. These chemicals prevent predators such as mice and birds from wanting to consume the bug. If a stinkbug sprays and a bird attempts to consume it, the awful taste may force the bird to spit the bug out. However, there are some birds that appear not to mind the taste and proceed to eat the stinkbug.
The stinkbugs have special glands located on their abdomen, known as defensive glands, in which the chemicals are sprayed out of producing the rancid odor. There are certain types of stinkbugs that actually have the ability to spray the chemicals several inches. Although many might want to step on, crush, or squish these stinkbugs, please be advised. By squishing and killing these bugs they release their stench and attract other stinkbugs. The proper way to get rid of these bugs is to either release them outside or flush them down the toilet.
Kutztown FFA