Stink or soldier bug - how do you tell?

julianna_il(z6 IL)August 23, 2007

I have looked and looked at pictures of the brown stink bug and the spined soldier bug and I just cannot tell the difference. Look at these two guys:



The first is a spined soldier bug (good) and the second a stink bug (bad). I found one yesterday hanging out on a Gypsy pepper. Just hanging around, so I took a picture which wasn't detailed enough to see anything. then today he was still on that pepper, which I picked and he peed on it. I tried to sniff it but he came at my nose and I was afraid he would attack me.

So I'm sorry to say I stepped on him. I *think* he was a stink bug, but geeez, how do you tell?

The thing is I planted this beautiful native goldenrod, and it was near the pepper, and goldenrod is supposed to attract spined soldier bugs in fall. But I think when it blooms, and it's not blooming yet.

I do hope I haven't killed another friend. I've already killed a ladybug in haste, thinking it was a bean beetle and it's traumatic.

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If when you stepped on that bug you noticed a vile odor it was a "stink bug". If there wasn't that vile odor it wasn't. There is no really good and easy way to tell the difference and some entomologists I know have a difficult time.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2007 at 7:59AM
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The "shoulders" of the spined soldier bug are thinner and the points extend out farther in proportion to the body than they do on the stink bug. Also, the tips of the wings have brown spots. When the wings are folded, it looks like one spot at the very center of the back of the bug.

Spined soldier bug:

Stink bug:

    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 10:10AM
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Excellent way to tell them apart. Thanks squonnk. I know it's an old post, but worth bringing to the top again.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 10:44PM
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terroir(zone 8)

these bastards are killing my monarch caterpillars! lol

sorry for the rant :)

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 1:12PM
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Thanks for the graphic photos. Man I hate those critters. I put on plastic gloves and squish as many as I can before dropping the horrid little bodies in a can of liquid soap.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 5:42PM
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Note the more distinct folded wing markings flanking the abdomen and the Playboy Bunny logo at the end. in the heat of bsttle this morning I might have squished a good bug.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 4:09PM
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I caught one in our herb planter and wanted to use it in our homeschool to have the kids do investigation. I had them look at lots of photos and discuss what they saw and thought he was, but until we came to this site we couldn't determine what he was for certain. After we compared ours to the photos here, at first we thought he was a good soldier bug because he had solid brown legs, but it turns out his spots are just very faint. Upon further comparison with these photos, ours has the VERY black-tipped antenna, so he must be a bad stink bug. Right?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 3:56PM
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I hate stink bugs! We don't normally have problelms with them here in MN but when we bought our RV in Virginia and brought it home we found that our RV was infested with stink bugs! The only way I can get rid of them without them stinking the place or multiplying like crazy is to cut the top of a water bottle just enough to fit a cardboard toilet paper cylinder. I put about 1/8 to a 1/4 cup dish soap in it and dilute it with a little water then fit the cylinder in it and I can scrape the "stinkers" off the ceiling or the walls. When they fall into the dish soap it is too slippery for them to get out and they die almost instantly.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 4:23PM
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