Stink Bugs and Similar-Appearing Insects in Iowa

Encyclopedia Article

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is a recently-introduced, invasive insect found in the eastern USA. Several native or established insects in Iowa are similar in appearance to the BMSB. See the photos below to determine if you have BMSB in your home, landscape or field. Submit all suspect specimens to clinic (at no charge) by following the steps for Submitting an Insect Specimen.

Stink bugs and similar-appearing insects

Brown marmorated stink bug
Brown marmorated stink bug.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

  • approximately 5/8 inch long
  • a mottled brownish grey color
  • "shield" shaped body
  • antennae with alternating light and dark bands
  • top of the abdominal segments protruding from beneath the wings with alternating dark and light bands.
  • Underside is pale in color

 

Brown stink bug
Brown stink bug.

Brown Stink Bug

  • About 0.5 inch long
  • shield-shaped
  • grayish-yellow with dark punctures on the back
  • fourth and fifth antennal segments darker in color
  • front corners of thorax rounded to slightly pointed
  • underside with a pinkish tinge

 

Spined Soldier Bug

 

Spined soldier bug
Spined soldier bugs eating a lady beetle larva.

  • About 0.5 inch long, but variable
  • Color varies from yellowish to pale brown
  • small black specks cover the back
  • acute spines on the front corners of the thorax
  • a short black line on the wing tips which extends beyond the abdomen
  • the conspicuous spine on the middle of the front tibia may be noticeable

 

 

Image of a pine seed bug.
Western pine seed bug.

Western Pine Seed Bug

  • A common household accidental invader in Iowa
  • about 1 inch long
  • elongate in shape
  • dull reddish brown in color
  • pointed at both ends
  • antennae are almost as long as the body
  • faint, white zigzag line across the center of the back

 

Squash bug
Squash bug.

Squash Bug

  • Common on foliage and fruit of pumpkins and squash in late summer
  • 1-inch long
  • gray-black or brown in color,
  • longate oval and pointed at the head end
  • hide in winter under old vines, under leaves, clods, stones and other debris.
  • rarely found indoors

 

BMSB is reported from approximately 43 different states, including Iowa. A single dead specimen was collected in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in February, 2011 and submitted to ISU for diagnosis. Since then, BMSB has been reported from 19 counties in Iowa. BMSB travels readily in shipping containers and with people. Adults and nymphs feed on sap from a wide variety of plants and in the fall of the year accidentally wander inside buildings as a nuisance pest.  For more information please see the HHPN article, "Brown Marmorated Stink Bug".

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