Do Stink Bugs Eat Houseplants? Which Ones?

Stink bugs are one of the newest household pests found in North America, arriving in the mid-1990s to stink up the place. They are also known as plant lice and have been around for thousands of years in other parts of the world. 

Do stink bugs eat houseplants?

Stink bugs are common in gardens, but they also commonly sneak into houses in the fall and winter for warmth.

The question shouldn’t be whether or not stink bugs will harm houseplants. It depends on your plant type, what kind of bug it is, and how much damage it does to your plant.

  • Stink bugs are a nuisance that can ruin your garden. 
  • They are attracted to the smell of plants and flowers, which is why they are so prevalent in gardens.
  • Not all stink bugs are bad for plants. Some species of stink bugs feed on pollen and nectar, which some houseplants need to survive. 

We’ll explain the deals on stinkbugs and houseplants below.

Do Stink Bugs Eat Houseplants?

A new study published in the journal Science found that houseplants are more susceptible to damage from stink bugs than previously thought. The research also suggested that houseplants are not just a home decoration but also a tool for mitigating the effects of air pollution. 

Stink bugs commonly associated with other similar-looking insects like assassin bugs and shield bugs, significantly impact houseplants. These pests will feed on plants and release their waste into the atmosphere, which can cause plant damage and health problems for humans living nearby.

Type of Stink Bugs that Hurt Houseplants?

Usually, stink bugs are not harmful to people (though if you get their stinky spray on your skin, you can get a rash).

In the winter, they are commonly found in homes and other buildings.

The following are the types of Stink bugs that damage the plants:

1. Green Stink Bug

The Green Stink Bug is the most common stink bug found in homes and buildings. It is a greenish-brown color with two yellow stripes on its wings. These bugs feed on plant sap, making them one of the most common pests that attack plants.

They can also cause damage to leaves, flowers, and fruits.

2. Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

The brown stink bug is one of the most common stink bugs found in homes and gardens and is the one most people think of as a true stink bug. The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) is a brownish-black color with white markings near its eyes and two white stripes near its wings. 

The BMSB feeds on various plants, including azaleas, begonias, camellias, hibiscus, and hydrangeas. It also loves to feed on plant sap, but it also feeds on fruit in addition to sap. This means it can be very destructive to outdoor and indoor fruiting plants.

This makes them a pest for humans as well as plants. 

3. Gray Stink Bugs

These bugs are not native to the United States but were introduced through trade. Gray Stink Bugs or Brochymena stink bugs have a wide range of feeding habits, including eating leaves, flowers, shoots, and even stems. 

They also like to feed on moist parts of the plant, like roots and crowns. In addition, they are mostly found in warm, humid environments with high moisture levels. 

They typically feed on the leaves, flowers, and stems of plants. The bug’s feeding can kill the plant if it is not controlled or killed by insecticide sprays.

Factors that Attract Stink Bugs To Your House

There are a lot of factors that can attract stink bugs to your house. One of the common reasons is the presence of warmth. In the fall and stink bugs seek refuge in warmer climates, and will often make their way into buildings.

They enjoy your heat, and feast on your houseplants before hibernating. They will come to eat food they find in your home, including fruit, vegetables, and even pet food. 

Another factor is moisture. Stink bugs like moist environments because they can feed and reproduce there easily. This includes areas where you might have a leak or where it’s raining outside.

Moreover, Stink bugs are attracted to moisture, warmth, and carbon dioxide. They congregate in dark, moist areas like closets, bathrooms, under stones, or logs. Usually, plant pots outside your home attract stink bugs. The bug will crawl into the pot, which provides it with a place to hide from predators while it feeds on the plant’s sap.

Also, they use pheromones to attract other stink bugs.

Stink bugs are specifically attracted to the plant’s scent, which makes them think that the plant is a place to lay eggs and eat.

If your plants are in a poorly lit area, it is likely a choice option for stink bugs.

If your plants are in a poorly lit area, it is likely a choice option for stink bugs.

They will also attack plants watered recently due to high moisture in the soil.

Do Stink Bug Larvae Feed on Plants?

The stink bug’s larvae are white, long, and thin. They are about one to three inches long and have a spiny appearance. Stink bug larvae look like ticks, with a long body, four legs, and a head with two compound yellow or red eyes.

Larva can regrow their legs, and will be on a constant hunt for food.

Their bodies are covered in short hairs that help them smell and taste food.

The stink bug’s larvae are white, long, and thin. They are about one to three inches long and have a spiny appearance.

The first stage of stink bug life is called the egg stage. The female will lay her eggs on leaves, where they will hatch into nymphs or immature insects that have not yet developed wings or antennae.

Nymphs live on leaves for about one month before they molt into adults. 

Stink Bug Larvae are common in the summer months and are usually found on crops such as corn, soybeans, cotton, and wheat.

They can also be found on other vegetation such as weeds, flowers, and grasses. The stink bug larvae also feed on houseplants just like the adult bugs to survive.

How to Eradicate Stink Bugs From Your Home

Eliminating stink bugs is a difficult task. You can try to repel them with scents like cloves, but often that’s not enough.

The most effective method of getting rid of stink bugs is applying insecticides. Insecticides such as Raid and Terro are the best ways to eliminate smelly stink bugs. 

For maximum effectiveness, use them in combination with traps. If you can not find a trap, you can also place sticky traps around your home or garden.

These traps will catch the scent of the stink bug and lure them away from your property. Stink bugs are attracted by light and are most active at night. They will be lured in by the light, and once they enter the trap, they will be unable to escape.

Stink bugs are attracted by light and are most active at night.

1. Find Their Hiding Spots

Another step in removing a stink bug is to identify its source. If you notice an increase in the number of insects, you should try to find where they are coming from.

2. Egg Hunt

You should also check for signs that there are eggs nearby, which means that more stink bugs will be coming soon.

If you can not find where they are coming from, you must look for their nests and destroy them before any eggs hatch.

3. Seal It Up!

As we mentioned above, the best treatment is prevention!

Seal off any openings that could lead them into the house. Search for any little openings in window screens, around pipes, cracks in the foundation, etc. These are prime access for stink bugs.

4. Companion Plants in the Garden

The best way to prevent stink bugs from invading your garden is to introduce companion plants. These plants will help repel the pests and attract beneficial insects that eat stink bugs. Of course you can’t eliminate them from the outdoors completely, but you can keep them under control.

Plants that are known for repelling these insects include fennel, mint, lavender, catnip, garlic, thyme, lemongrass, sage, allium, chrysanthemums, basil, and rosemary.

How To Naturally Get Rid Of Stink Bugs

A natural way to get rid of stink bugs in your houseplants is to remove the plants from the area and spray them with a diluted solution of water and vinegar.

The bugs will be drawn towards the smell and drown. You can also use neem oil, which is safe for your plants and won’t harm them.

If you are unsure what type of stink bug it is, consult a pest control professional.

A natural way to get rid of stink bugs is to remove the plants from the area and spray them with a solution of water and vinegar.

The Life Cycle of Stink Bugs

The stink bug is a colloquial term for any insect belonging to the family Pentatomidae, which contains many species of true bugs (order Hemiptera). Stink bugs have a life cycle that consists of four stages.

Those stages egg, larva, pupa, and adult are described below in detail:

First Stage – Eggs

Eggs are laid by the female stink bug and are usually found on the ground. They also lay their eggs on a food source that is high in protein and carbohydrates, such as rotting wood or plant leaves. 

Second Stage – Larva

The larva is a worm-like stage of a stink bug. It has six legs and feeds on decaying organic matter to grow bigger.

Third Stage – Pupa

The pupa is where the stink bug changes into an adult form before it emerges from its skin as an adult in the spring or summer months.

Fourth Stage – Adult

Adults can be seen in two forms – male or female – but they don’t look much different from their larval or pupal forms apart from their size and coloration.


Although stink bugs play a vital role in the natural ecosystem of their environment, you can not let these pests win the battle in your garden. They can reproduce rapidly. Therefore, it is mandatory to get rid of them before they consume your houseplants and invade your house. It is recommended to get professional help or call an Exterminator who can eradicate them permanently from your surroundings.