Do Stink Bugs Smell Like Poop? Do They Smell Like Cilantro?

Stink bugs are insects in the order Hemiptera that have a foul-smelling secretion on their body. 

But what exactly do they smell like? Do stink bugs smell like poop?

Stink bugs are herbivorous and predatory as well. But what do they smell like?

Some say poop, and others say cilantro. What is the truth?

Keep reading to find out!

Do Stink Bugs Smell Like Poop?

Stink bugs have a strong smell that can be described as an unpleasant, musky smell. They are also known as the “smelly soldier” because they secrete a smelly liquid from their abdomen when threatened or disturbed.

The liquid has been used to help identify them, and is often compared with a poop smell. 

Stink bugs are commonly found in tropical and subtropical areas, but they can also be found in temperate regions if there is a suitable habitat for them to live in. Stink bugs have a unique body shape that allows them to thrive in environments with high levels of carbon dioxide. 

Their characteristic smell is produced by a chemical reaction between an enzyme called trans-4-hydroxycinnamaldehyde and their waste products, which are also used as an insecticide. 

Amusingly, some people smell a different scent when they smell a stink bug… cilantro!

Do Stink Bugs Smell Like Cilantro?

The smell of stink bugs is often compared with the herb known as Cilantro. Cilantro is a fresh herb that can be used in many different ways. It is used in Mexican cuisine, Asian dishes, and garnish.

The cilantro smell is so strong because it contains high levels of a chemical called allyl mercaptan. 

Allyl mercaptan gives off a sharp, pungent odor when it reacts with sulfur-containing compounds in the air and water vapor.

Although the smell of stink bugs varies, it is usually similar to Cilantro’s smell.

Strangely, cilantro has a feature that some people absolutely hate the taste of it, often comparing it to soap. While others (including this writer!) adore it.

Perhaps the same scent categorization that works in that way works with the stink bug smell as well.

Factors That Affect the Smell of Stink Bug

According to the National Pesticide Information Center, several factors influence the smell of a stink bug:

  • The odor can vary depending on the type of stink bug and its location in your home.
  • Stink bugs are also known to emit different odors depending on their diet, which includes plant material and animal droppings.
  • The smell can also be influenced by the temperature, humidity, and age of the bug or its excrement, your personal sense of smell, and your health status.

Types of Stink Bugs

There are many types of stink bugs (and their cousins shield bugs), but they all share one thing in common – they smell bad. There are over 3,000 species of stink bugs in the world. While gardening, you may encounter some stink bugs like a Green stink bug, Asian lady beetle, and Garden stink bug.

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is considered the most common type of stink bug. The brown marmorated stink bug is a large, shield-shaped insect with a metallic brown color. It has a black shield-shaped head and black antennae with white bands on either side. 

The thorax is brown with dark markings, while the abdomen is light brown with dark markings along its sides.

The wings of this bug are clear, with two dark spots near their tips.

The brown marmorated is herbivorous and feeds on plants only (including houseplants!). There are predatory stink bugs as well that feed on insects.

Some of them are:

  • Anchor bugs
  • two-spotted stink bugs
  • Arboreal stink bugs
  • Spined soldier bugs

Characteristics of Stink Bugs

Stink bugs are brown, oval-shaped insects that can grow up to three centimeters long. They have an oval or round body with a flattened head and two large compound eyes.

The antennae are located on the top of their head, and they also have a pair of long, thin legs. 

Stink bugs have a black triangular marking on the back of their head. You may also identify them by checking the underside of a stink bug’s wings to see if they have two black stripes on each wing in a zigzag pattern.

How Do Stink Bugs Damage the Plants?

Normally, they eat fruit trees and other plants that produce sugar or honeydew. When stink bugs feed on plants, they inject a toxic liquid into the plant tissue.

This is how they kill the plant and spread their eggs to other plants nearby.

Unfortunately, these insects are known to cause problems for farmers because they can damage crops and cause honeydew to accumulate on leaves, making the leaves susceptible to fungal diseases.

How to Get Rid of a Stink Bug Infestation

Stink bugs are a nuisance, whether they’re in your garden or have snuck in your house.

These pests are usually found in warm and humid areas. When the weather is warm, they fly around and land on your plants or any other surface to drink water from the plant’s leaves.

If you have already encountered these pests in your home or garden, use these tips to get rid of them:

  • Spray an insecticide or aerosol bug spray around the infested area to kill stink bugs
  • Spray a mixture of water and soap around the infested area
  • Vacuum up stink bugs and dispose of them outside

Ways to Keep Stink Bugs Away

As stink bugs feed on plants and vegetables, they can cause serious damage to your garden. It is compulsory to prevent their infestation. Stink bugs are a nuisance in the home, but they can easily be prevented from infesting your home. Some of the most common ways to prevent stink bug growth are:

  • Planting flowers or herbs that have a strong odor
  • Using traps with pheromones
  • Using natural predators like spiders.
  • keep your home free of clutter and food waste
  • Stink bugs are attracted by light, so you should always turn off all lights while leaving home.


The smell of stink bugs is not harmful to humans, but it can be annoying. Getting rid of stink bugs as soon as you find the signs of Stink bug infestation is important.

If you find yellow blotches on leaves, black pits on nuts, and aborted fruits, begin your hunt for the little stinkers.

If the infestation is not that severe, then you may implement the above-mentioned solutions in this article.