Stink bugs, also known as shield bugs, appear similar because of the flat, shield-like shape of their bodies. There are several species of stink bugs, each with its own unique markings.
The brown marmorated stink bug has the characteristic triangular shape and is brown in color. It has darker colors on its lower wings and light colored antennae. The southern green stink bug has a green, shield-like body with red or black eyes.
The harlequin bug has red and black spots along its flat, shield-shaped body, with black antennae. The rice stink bug is golden brown and is characterized by the protruding, forward-pointing spines on its body. The forest bug is shiny brown with orange markings and plates that extend from its triangular body.
Stink bugs derive their name from the strong, pungent odor they emit when disturbed. They originated in Asia and were first reported in the United States during the 1990s. Stink bugs are found on farmlands and in orchards and gardens. They feed on leaves, flowers and fruit, as well as crops such as soybeans. They also prey on caterpillars and other garden pests.
The brown marmorated stink bug first appeared in Pennsylvania. It breeds in 15 states, as of 2015. Marmorated stink bugs congregate in large numbers and are especially destructive because of a lack of natural predators. They spend the summer feeding on crops and fruit. They seek shelter from the winter in mid-October, making their way into homes. In 2010, marmorated stink bugs were responsible for causing $37 million worth of damage to Mid-Atlantic apple farms.