Stoldier, Stink, and Squash Bugs. How to tell.

joellenh(6b Jenks)August 8, 2010

I know to most of you this is probably second nature, but I am still learning the differences between good and bad bugs. Stink and Soldier bugs look almost identical to me, squash bugs are similar.

I found pics and descriptions on how to tell them apart, and made a little side by side comparison.

Please tell me if I have anything wrong before I email this to my other newbie gardening friends and to my Mom.

Also, are there any other garden friends and foes that might look similar? If so I'd like to add them to my little cheat sheet.



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The leaffooted bug looks a lot like a squash bug, with the flared back legs, but is a pest of tomatoes. I'm overrun with them this year. I'm only useing DE this year. Hope it helps. Sprinkled on both the pumpkin vines and tomatoes this morn.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 12:29PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Jo, It looks fine to me. I just always look for the spines (pronounced points) on the shoulders. Also, in my garden, the spined soldier bugs are larger than the others. I don't know if that is true everywhere. Finally, you may or may not notice this, but stink bugs and squash bugs run and hide from me when they see me, and the soldier bugs tend to sit there looking at me but not fearing me.

Dorothy, Some years, the leaf-footed bugs are the bane of my existence. They are very hard to fight. I try to find them and spray them directly with neem or orange oil when they are nymphs. So far this year I haven't seen any, but have had stink bugs since May and squash bugs since June.

Gardening in July and August are extremely hard because of the stink bugs and leaf-footed bugs. Most years, I'd lump blister beetles into that group, but since blister beetles eat grasshopper eggs, I've put out the Welcome mat for blister beetles this year...but I've only seen 2 of them this entire year.

The grasshopper situation here is desperately bad.

This is turning out to be the worst bug year in ages.


    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 2:32PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

That is helpful to me because when I look at the pictures the soldier bug looks the same as the bad guys to me. Even in your clear picture the stink bug and soldier bug both appear to have pointy shoulders. I have had lots of stinkbug damage so any stink bug look alike that is on a tomato gets squashed. I will look for the brown spot. My friends are the wheel bugs I love to see them with a J beetle speared. It would take an army of them to get all the J B s though. That third guy is in my kitchen. He must have come in on the tomatoes I gathered. I tried to look him up to find his name and what he does. Looks like he needs to be squashed.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 4:00PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I've linked one of my favorite photos of a spined solider bug. I like it because it shows the pointed spines pretty well. Spined soldier bugs actually are stink bugs too, but they just happen to be stink bugs that eat pest insects instead of plants.

In my garden, I never have more than a handful of spined soldier bugs at one time. By contrast, there's dozens of stink bugs at any given time, both brown and green, and squash bugs sporadically and leaf-footed bugs some years but not others.

At our house, the stink bugs hang out on the back porch just waiting for a chance to come inside. Apparently they don't like the hot summer weather any more than we do.


Here is a link that might be useful: Spined Soldier Bug

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 4:07PM
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joellenh(6b Jenks)

I've only seen one soldier bug that I know of. I almost squashed him, then tried to think back on the pics and let him go.

I see tons of stink bugs and squash bugs. No fair!


    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 5:59PM
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I haven't had a Zuchinni or yellow summer squash all summer due to squash bugs. I finally started a morning and evening program of hand picking and drowning them. Then the grasshoppers attacked. Not to be whipped, I gave in to spraying with Neem oil and now looks like I might be able to enjoy some squash before cold weather sets in.

Yes, Dawn, the hoppers are really bad this year, and I too am leaving the Blister Beetles alone, except those that have invaded my ripening cantaloupes. Wherever I have sprayed Neem oil, the grasshoppers seem to leave the plants alone.

I'm not sure this is the best idea, but I've asked my DS to allow the grass to grow longer before mowing to try to contain the hoppers in non-garden areas.

It's just sickening to see these nasty insects destroying a beautiful garden! Next year I plan on laying down a lot of Semispore early on, as well as trying some of the home remedies.

Let us know how the Surround works for you.


    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 11:33PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I have used Surround but not all season. I think some of the stink bug damage happened when the tomatoes were small before I sprayed. It takes a lot of it and you have to keep shaking your sprayer because it will sink to the bottom. Then the first plants are covered in white clay and you are left with chalky liquid that doesn't coat the plants. I have still seen a stinkbug or two on sprayed plants. I just got everything sprayed and then it rained. I am going to spray today for the purpose of protecting the plants from the sun. I think it may help in this heat because the plants are covered in white clay after you spray.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 10:22AM
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joellenh(6b Jenks)

Are leaf-footed bugs EVER good or are they always on the "to squash" list?


    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 10:24PM
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