Do Stink Bugs Buzz or Make Noise?

Stink bugs are tricky creatures. Besides their… distinctive… foul smell, they are hard to identify due to their small size.

Do stink bugs buzz or make noise?

Yes, they produce a significant buzzing sound when in flight, which you could easily mistake for the sound of a wasp or bee.

  • Stink bugs produce a variety of sounds.
  • They are easily identifiable by such sounds and several physical characteristics.
  • They can be dealt with in a variety of different ways, but we don’t suggest squishing them!

The information collected here will provide you with the knowledge needed to identify stink bugs and remove them when they appear. 

Stink Bugs 101

A name like “stink bug” leaves little room for the imagination! These pesky pests are also known as Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs.

Suffice it to say, these invasive six-legged insects are notorious for the foul smell they produce when they are crushed. Despite measuring only two centimeters in length, stink bugs can seriously damage the plants in your garden (or in your house) and should therefore be dealt with promptly.

Are Stink Bugs Big Trouble?

As is the case with most insects, the common stink bug is just one member of a much larger family of bugs, and is often confused with other bugs like shield bugs and assassin bugs.

While some are more dangerous than others, it is important to note that stink bugs cannot harm humans by any direct means (i.e., biting). Their stinky spray can cause irritation when it touches the skin.

Stink bugs are particularly harmful to the agricultural industry. The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is the most frequently encountered stink bug in the United States. This otherwise unassuming little critter is particularly attracted to:

  • Tree fruits (such as peaches and apples)
  • Garden vegetables (such as tomatoes)
  • Raw crops (such as beans and corn)

When brown marmorated stink bugs feed, dark spots are left behind, and the produce becomes discolored, rendering it unsuitable for the global market. Additionally, due to their increased presence, pesticide regulation programs have been forced to allow the use of broad-spectrum pesticides, which cause further harm to the environment.

Needless to say, despite otherwise being unharmful towards humans, stink bugs are dangerous creatures nonetheless.

Needless to say, despite otherwise being unharmful towards humans, stink bugs are dangerous creatures nonetheless.

Can You Identify Stink Bugs by the Sounds They Make?

Not everyone is comfortable getting up close and personal with insects, let alone stink bugs and their eggs. Fortunately, stink bugs produce a variety of different sounds, which make them easily identifiable. 

Do Stink Bugs Buzz or Make Noise?

Like many other insects, stink bugs produce an annoying buzzing sound that can easily keep you up at night. The flapping of their hind wings causes the buzzing. 

Like bees and wasps, stink bugs have two sets of wings.

The forewings are thick and sturdy. They primarily serve as protection for the hind wings, which sound like the buzzing of a wasp when the bugs are in flight.

The forewings are thick and sturdy. They primarily serve as protection for the hind wings, which sound like the buzzing of a wasp when the bugs are in flight.

Although they are loud, stink bugs are infrequent flyers and also lack agility when they do fly.

Stink bugs rarely travel more than 3 miles in a day when they are outside and even less when they are trapped inside.

This makes it tricky at best to identify a stink bug by their buzzing, especially when they are inside your home.

They don’t constantly buzz around your room the way a fly might, searching for a way to get out.

Still, you can try a few things that can cause a stink bug to take flight. Stink bugs will fly if:

  • There is a light source that will attract them.
  • They are attracted to an indoor houseplant.
  • The room they are in becomes too cold.
  • They feel threatened. 

If you think your home is playing host to a family of stink bugs, try switching on the lights or lowering the temperature to get their attention.

Do Stink Bugs Make Any Other Sounds?

Buzzing is not the only sound stink bugs can produce. Another distinctive noise they make is a slight tapping whenever they land on a hard surface. 

1. Stink Bugs Make a Tapping Sound When They Land

As mentioned, stink bugs have two sets of wings. The hindwings are responsible for the constant buzzing that you will hear when they are in flight. However, it is the forewings that are responsible for the tapping sound that they produce. 

This is primarily due to the toughness of the forewings. The sound is louder when the stink bug lands on a wall, countertop, door, or other hard surfaces and noticeably softer when they land on a plant.

Stink bugs have two sets of wings. The hindwings are responsible for the constant buzzing that you hear when they fly.

Stink bugs tend to gravitate towards rooms that have lots of entrances like doors and windows. Naturally, it is in these rooms that the buzz-click sounds you hear will be the loudest.

Additionally, stink bugs are more active indoors during the spring. When winter rolls around, they enter a catatonic hibernation state.

If they found their way into your house before, you can expect to see a few of them laying perfectly still on the walls of your home. Often the best way to remove these bugs is to prod them onto a piece of paper and place them outdoors.

2. Stink Bugs Also Vibrate to Communicate

In addition to the tapping and buzzing – both of which can drive a person mad – there is one other distinctive sound that stink bugs produce.

When a male stink bug is ready to mate, it will begin to vibrate in an attempt to find and attract any nearby females. These vibrations are different from the buzzing they make when they fly or the tapping they make when they land. 

When a male stink bug is ready to mate, it will begin to vibrate in an attempt to find and attract any nearby females. 

In the animal world, these vibrations are called songs and feature distinctive melodies. Male stink bugs are the only ones to initiate the songs. If a female stink bug is nearby, it will reciprocate with a melody of its own.

Otherwise, the male stink bug will sing alone until a mate is found.

Unfortunately, there is no way to predict when a stink bug will sing – they tend to vibrate spontaneously, even if there is no female nearby. 

How Can You Identify a Stink Bug?

Brown marmorated stink bugs have several distinguishable physical characteristics which you can easily identify. During the nymph stage (or the “baby” stage), these creatures have a prominent dark head and black stripes on their orange or red abdomen.

When they become adults, their bodies lose a lot of their color and turn either brown or grey. 

Stink bugs can also be identified by their spines, antennae, or legs, all of which feature white bands and a white underside.

Their spines are especially prominent – they are on the edges of their shoulders and in front of their eyes. 

Finally, if you cannot spot any stink bugs but still suspect that your plants may be at risk, you can also look for stink bug eggs. These eggs can typically be found under the leaves of your plants – they are only a millimeter in diameter and have a light blue or green tint. 

Why Do Stink Bugs Smell So Bad?

By this point, you may be wondering exactly what it is that gives the stink bug its trademark odor. 

Stink bugs primarily use pheromones to communicate. These pheromones are not what causes the foul odor – instead, they beckon other stink bugs to a single location, which is why they are rarely found alone and why the smell eventually becomes so intense.

Note that unlike roaches and some other insects, the scent of a dead stink bug does not attract other stink bugs.

The smell itself is used as a defense mechanism against predators. Stink bugs have a unique gland located on their thorax, which sprays the odor. The smell is in turn absorbed by another unique organ known as an evapotorium, which helps the smell evaporate into the air more efficiently. 

When stink bugs are killed en masse, the smell is particularly potent.

How Can You Get Rid of Stink Bugs From Your Home?

Aside from calling in an exterminator, stink bugs are repelled by a variety of different things, most of which should be readily available to the average homeowner. 

  • The first thing you can do is seal all the entry points in your house. Unfortunately, stink bugs can crawl into the tiniest of spaces – to get around this, consider using window and door sealant. 
  • You could also flood your home with the smell of essential oils. Stink bugs are surprisingly repelled by sweet-smelling odors, such as those emitted by clove, spearmint, lemongrass, rosemary, geranium, and wintergreen.
  • Beyond these two solutions, if you happen to spot any stink bugs around your house, do not crush them or swat them. Instead, vacuum them up to avoid the smell they emanate when they are killed. 

Of course, the best solution is always to call a professional exterminator. This will not only ensure that any stink bugs currently present are sufficiently dealt with, but a competent exterminator can also recommend solutions to you that will prevent them from congregating inside your home.


Stink bugs can be tricky to deal with due to their small sizes and large numbers. While they do not pose any significant physical threat to you and your family, their foul smell is enough to drive anyone mad.

Fortunately, with the information provided by this article, you should be sufficiently prepared to deal with the annoying little critters once and for all.