Stink bugs, which originated in East Asia, were discovered in the United States in the ’90s. You’d think that after a while, many Americans would get used to stink bugs. The stench of rotting vegetables, on the other hand, is difficult to grow used to. They’re pretty much everywhere in the United States, and they’re here to stay. So why not learn more about these small insects that have managed to become quite an annoyance?
Let’s learn everything we can about the stink bug, including the stink bug lifespan and more!
The Rundown on Stink Bugs
The brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) is a Pentatomidae insect native to China, Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries. Stink bugs are invading insects that did not evolve naturally in the United States. In September 1998, they were discovered in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where they were initially thought to have been accidentally introduced to the United States.
Stink bugs aren’t deadly, but they can be a serious nuisance for many farmers. These pests prey on valuable income crops such as corn, soybeans, tree fruits, and berries. Stink bugs cause noticeable bruising damage to the plants they feed on.
As far as their name goes, it is derived from the awful stench that they emit when you crush them or when they defend their habitats. The odor of stink bugs is caused by the excretion of these chemical substances; trans-2-decenal and trans-2-octenal. This smells like decaying vegetables, coriander, or cilantro.
Now that we have a better grasp of the stink bug, let us look into all we can about the stink bug’s lifespan.
How Long Do Stink Bugs Live?
Stink bugs live on average between 6-8 months. However, a stink bug’s life span varies depending on species and area.
According to the University of Arkansas, the adult rice stink insect, which may be found east of the Rocky Mountains, has a life span of 50 days. According to New Mexico State University, the adult conchuela stink bug, which may be found in New Mexico and Texas, has a lifespan of more than 70 days.
Research done on the ‘Sexual Activity and Longevity of the Southern Green Stink Bug’ has also found interesting data concerning female stink bug lifespans. According to the study, unmated adult males and females outlived mated stink bugs by 6 and 2 times, respectively. The average life duration of virgin females was 60 days, whereas mated females had a life span of 30 days.
As you can see, the lifespan of a stink bug varies greatly depending on the species and sex of the bug. Now that we have a better understanding of this smelly bug, let’s move on to their life cycle.
The Average Stink Bug Life Cycle
Now that we understand how long they can live, let’s better understand how they evolve. The stink bug life cycle is divided into three stages: egg, nymph, and adult.
The mating season for these insects begins when the weather starts to warm up, which is usually in the spring. Females begin to deposit eggs after mating, generally on the underside of plant leaves. During the plant and agricultural growing season, certain species will lay clusters of stink bug eggs throughout various times. The eggs hatch in four to five days, kicking off the nymph stage.
Stink bugs are known as nymphs after hatching. Nymphs go through five developmental phases known as instars. Because a nymph’s exoskeleton cannot expand with the young insect, each of these phases is effectively a growth spurt. Instead, in order to develop in size, nymphs must lose their constrictive outer layer of skin. Molting is the term used by entomologists to describe this process.
Each instar lasts around one week. Nymphs go through numerous instars, shedding their old skin and growing in size each time. The nymphs gain their wings during the last instar and grow to a length of around 12 millimeters.
Stink bugs spend their adult life munching on plant materials, mating, and hunting for warm places to shelter from the winter cold. Humans frequently come into contact with these insects while they are looking for a comfortable winter shelter. Stink bugs will crawl through any possible crack or crevice to enter your warm home and reside there until spring arrives. Adult insects may mate within two weeks after reaching adulthood and survive for 50 days to eight months, depending on which of the 4,700 stink bug species they belong to.
Factors That Impact The Stink Bug Lifespan
Because stink bugs are particularly vexing for many homes in the United States, you may be wondering what is affecting their survival. Many factors can influence the number and diversity of insect populations.
The most prevalent factors that impact the stink bug lifespan include:
- Temperature: Researchers discovered that temperature is the most critical factor influencing geographical distribution and abundance of some stink bugs. The invasive brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) and two native stink bug pests, the green stink bug and the brown stink bug, were studied. They discovered that the amount of BMSB decreased as temperatures rose in June. It seems that the brown marmorated stink bug cannot withstand extremely hot summer conditions.
- Predators: Insects such as ants, spiders, and even some birds and animals are among the creatures that prey on the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB). However, insects and spiders are often regarded as the most important category of BMSB’s natural adversaries. These natural enemies have the potential to significantly reduce BMSB numbers.
- Humans: Many people regard stink bugs as an invasive pest that takes over their homes. People will often hire exterminators and other pest control services to take care of stink bug infestations in their homes.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Vinicius R. Souza/Shutterstock.com
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