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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Treatment for stink bug bites


Andi wrote at 2008-04-18 16:52:36
I live in Upper Black Eddy, PA and have had these horrible stink bugs come into my home over the last 3 years.  I have been "bitten" twice when during the night one of them crawled into my bed and bit me on the thigh.  Two different instances. I know they're the stink bugs because one of them was dead in the bed and the other time it crawled on my arm, woke me and I had the bite. The bite appears as a swollen, red irritation, 1" wide and itchy and painful.

So they do either sting or bite.  My husband and I are going on a mission to caulk every nook and cranny before the fall comes around and hopefully reduce the numbers coming in this year.

I don't think the bites are harmful or poisonous, just painful and ugly like the bugs.

ADiPalma wrote at 2008-05-10 13:54:49
I have also been "bitten" by the mam. stink bug - twice on different occasions.

I know because I found one of them dead in the bed and I had a big welt on my butt.  The second time, one was crawling on me at night in the bed again and when I got up I had a welt on my butt again.  I understand that they can puncture you with the same aparatus they use to puncture fruit.

So that's not true that they don't harm humans.

And let me tell you the welts are painful.  I used neosporin and bacitracin for over a month to get rid of the inflammation and the last welt remained as a scar.

A.D. Revere, PA

laurie wrote at 2008-09-10 01:28:16
ok, in my quest to find out what it is.. i found another site and they suggested it was a blister beetle... same symptoms and smell as a stink bug.. hope this helps!!!

Kellie wrote at 2009-01-30 18:12:19
I live in NE Maryland and we are experiencing an infestation of stink bugs inside our home this winter as well. I have been bitten repeatedly by something (four or five times in the last couple of months). It produces a large red welt, itchy, and hot and swollen for several days although it does not go away completely for weeks. At first I thought it was a spider bite but I keep getting them and I do not see many spiders in my house. What I see everywhere are stink bugs. No one on-line seems to agree. Although there seem to be many people asking the same question. I do not have a cat or any other pet and they do not look like flea bites anyway.

Mr. Designer wrote at 2009-04-09 01:35:07
I'm always killing stink bugs in my apt in haddonfield new jersey, probably for 6 years now, and more and more are appearing every season. Even through the winter when it gets warmed by the sun they appear. Twice I have woken up with multiple bug bites on my body. The first time it happened I wasn't sure what bit me and found a stink bud in my bed the next day. I didn't know they bite. For the last two nights it happened again. I have bites all over me. I finally found the stink bug and killed it. It was in the curtains above my bed. The funny part is, I had a dream that a larger bug like a cockroach was biting me.  The little fella must be hungry. I looked at photos. It is a stink bug and it does smell. Guess I'll see if I get any bites tonight.

Norman wrote at 2010-02-22 14:46:47
I just got stung by a stink bug.  I don't think it bit me at all.  I rolled on it in bed and I felt a stinging sensation on my stomach.  I smelled his scent too.  When I turned on the light to see what was attacking me, I saw that I had laid on his back.  He secreted his stink which burned my skin.  Not only did it give me a welt, but it tattooed my skin where I could see the shape of the bug as well as see his legs.  I have a dime sized red area where there were two distinct welts.  One round one the diameter of a number 2 pencil eraser and one that forms a line like a scar from a cut about half an inch long. The imprint of his outline washed off, but I can still see the arrowhead shape in red on my skin.  

DebL wrote at 2010-08-30 21:19:09
I have a kitten who found crickets in the water outside several days in a row. He would catch the crickets and eat them. Today I was outside with him; he was next to the water and began frothing at the mouth. There was a stink bug in the water. One side of his face swelled a bit and although he is not frothing anymore, it still hurts him a bit as he is rubbing it with a paw and licking. I think they bite or sting....

emel langy wrote at 2010-09-02 10:48:45
I was in my final exam two days ago. I sat on a stink bug (without realising, ofcourse). During the final throes of the exam i felt a painful, stinging sensation on my right buttocks cheek. As we weren't allowed to leave the room I endured the biting for approximately 20 minutes. During this time I noted the intensified, unpleasant aroma... As I was familiar with the "stink bug" smell I recognized it to be a stink bug. At the end of the exam I stood up and as I expected there was a stink bug on my chair.  Examining my bottom later, it was evident that the stink bug had left quite an impression. There were 3 big red bumps on my right buttocks cheek. Two days later I am still experiencing pain.... Therefore I can testify to the existance of stink bug bites. Does anyone have remedies??? Thankyou for your time if you've bothered to read this. I thought details were necessary

Maggie1979 wrote at 2010-09-15 21:38:48
We live in Virginia and the stink bugs have really gotten bad the last several weeks.  My husband had one one his leg and he brushed it off, but not before it either bit or stung.  At first he said it really burned.  The next day it was red about the size of a quarter now (its been about 1 week) its a dark brown/blackish color.  It doesn't bother him much anymore, but it looks awful.

Before you ask-yes it was a stink bug --completely wiped out our garden and are now migrating toward the house--Maybe some of the scientist that explore this insect need to be bitten/stung.  It seems that they don't believe that these bugs bite---but after viewing several websites I see that they most certainly do!!  

Now that we know they can bite or sting the next step is for someone to come up with a solution.  It seems that aver the counter meds-cortisone, neosporin,etc doesn't seem to do much good.  A bee sting heals quicker that the bite of these fellows.   


smith1987 wrote at 2010-09-16 14:33:34
Maggie1979 I was bitten last year have you found anything that help with the long term side effects. I cant sleep, eating is very hard and my hands shake.

shorty wrote at 2010-09-19 13:59:41
re to E Pa... Stink bugs do bite. They had bit my son all over. But they havent went to either my cat or dog. To get them away you have to by some kind of spray from like lowes I cant remember what it is called but you can ask the customer service and they can help you with that. You will have to spray the area that you see them in and if your cat is in that room, you will have to have your cat out for about 2 hours so it drys.

lovelyladee wrote at 2010-09-22 21:49:34
John...Stink bugs ARE invading homes on the eastern, mid-Atlantic coast!  You are right.  And I am SURE they have bitten me, as I watched the thing, as he did it to me!  I didnt want to squash him, or move him away, cuz I was told the same thing..."They dont bite."  But if you scare them or squash them, they STINK!  So, I let it sit on my leg, while I was ready to cry!  (I HATE bugs!!!)  The bite is painful, and itchy.  My doctor just said topical cortisone, and neosporin.  No real treatment to get rid of them.

Stan wrote at 2010-09-24 20:04:51
I just had this happen. A stink bug landed on the back of my T shirt just as I was getting into a car. All of a sudden I felt this terrible hot pain on my back. The ride was short and when I got out of the car my girlfriend said "Hey Look a Stink bug is on the seat". The bug didn't bite me he let out some sort of a chemical as there was a yellow stain on the back of my shirt. I now have two areas where this chemical was on my back about the size of a quarter that got red and burned. Since washing the T shirt the yellow chemical stain did not come out. I do not think these bugs are capable of biting but they may be using a chemical defense. I can't find anything on the web about this. I hope this helps someone and maybe others have experience something similar.

Jayrob wrote at 2010-09-26 12:47:36
I was playing golf on Friday and noticed stink bugs on the cart as I got in it. While riding, I felt something on the back of my neck and brushed it off. I looked around and saw a stink bug on the seat. I felt a burning sensation on my neck and when I went to touch the area it felt "slimy". When I rubbed the area I must have spread the substance up my neck towards my hairline because now I have a reddish/brown streak about 3 inches long on the back of my neck. It doesn't really itch or bother me but it is un-sightly.

Harry wrote at 2010-09-28 02:16:03
I've been looking on the internet today for some insight into what I am pretty sure is a stink bug bite.

In the shower this afternoon, Twice, I felt a sharp pain just under my right armpit and didn't think much about it, but got out and standing at the sink I must have reached up to brush my hair

and a stink bug fell onto the sink area. I saw him very clearly before he climbed in behind the wall mirror. Over the next ten minutes I felt burning sensations under my arm and looked to find orange colored patterns.  I remembered reaching under my arm in the shower after feeling some pain there twice.  I'm pretty sure it was a stink bug. We have them everywhere around here this year.  I'm near Annapolis, Md.

I'm just hoping the orangish bites don't get worse.

Gardner wrote at 2010-10-16 14:30:03
The stink bug does bite, I have been bitten twice, once in the hand, and once on the back of my neck. I have also tried different creams to help, but nothing seems to work. The bite first burns, and then starts to itch, also a swollen bump the size of a dime. Any remedies please let me know. Thank you.

Ch'Ville Va wrote at 2010-10-20 17:26:23
.I live in Virginia and I got a stink bug bite. It is very painful , now red and it itches. I went to see my Doctor and She did in fact say it is an infection.  The bite 2 is less than 24 hrs really and the red streak began going all around the small toe. I also have the puncture the bug will use when it will bite into fruit. So I was given a rx for k flex. Perhaps you need to see your Family Doctor. I can not stand this is very painful.Hope you we all feel better soon.  

DLloyd wrote at 2010-10-28 06:25:50
They do bite! I had one bite my back, and it caused painful muscle spasms in my back for months. Finally, my doctor ruled out any other problems (bone, muscle, nerve, etc.) and she sent me to physical therapy. That has finally given me relief. It left a terrible welt, and I still have discoloration on the spot that it bit me.

lou wrote at 2010-11-10 06:31:38
I have the welts of a stink bug bite near my eye... they've lasted 4 days. It woke me from my sleep and I slapped it in a semi-conscious state. There was no pain, but on the third day a scab began forming.  Levittown PA.

Renmor wrote at 2010-11-16 05:23:11
I live in country Australia and my son was bitten on the shoulder twice, we could see 2 puncture marks which produced raised welts. I don't know if he got stink chemical on him but it was in the sleeve of his t-shirt and it certainly had the smell. He now has a slighlt raised rash that is 3 by 2cms wide. Ice and topical itch cream seemed to help but it is not going away in a hurry.

Maryann wrote at 2010-12-27 00:05:02
Sorry to report that the USA has assassin bugs that are a type of stink bug and it is hanging out with the regular non biting stink bugs probably making assassin  bugs out of the regular ones by mating. The drugs to kill the parasites that build up in our blood and turn into the deadly Chagas disease are available only out of the country in Brazil where the deadly bug is common. Oil of oregano is a systemic poison I am trying but I am not sure these microscopic parasites will all be destroyed this way.  500 mg twice per day, one week. Any health pharmacy or life science store carries this but it is also a blood thinner so ask your doctor if safe. You will not see the evasive assassin bug it hides well and lives in your heat during the winter, bites while you are sleeping day or night,until it grows very large then can't hide too easy. Residue pesticides like Raid 12 month lasting will help.  We are doomed if the CDC and doctors don't hurry to address this USA trouble!!!  

AliasMan wrote at 2011-03-04 17:21:17
Last answer is dead wrong - do a google search on "Do stink bugs sting people" and you'll find that, Yes, they do and it hurts and the area may take many weeks to completely heal.  And they sure ain't tree borers  

Yvonne wrote at 2011-03-17 19:57:39
Three days ago I was bitten by one while I was lying in bed. I felt something on my face that I tried to flick off but it didn't budge much. Then I felt a sharp pinch, like a bite and smelled the worse odor. I was one of those fortunate folks that never smelled the stink. Instantly I felt a burning sensation at the site and the area had a red welt. I washed my face and hands with a gentle soap, but the smell stayed with me all day. The next day the redness and warm pain was replaced by a purplish blotch, similar to an ink mark. Some noticed that that side of my face was a little swollen. Today, the area is darker and rough, like a scab, still some tingling pain and warmth. I have no doubt it was stink bug, because my husband turned on the light as I whacked it after it bite me and it landed on my pillow. I too was under the impression that these bugs pose no harm to humans and cannot bit through our skin, but whether it was a bite or a chemical reaction, it did harm. Does anyone know how long before it heals? I mean, if it were on my butt, that would be one thing, but it's on my face. My other concern is for my  little boy. I'm wondering if we might have some kind of allergy to the bug. I have a call into the Entomology Department at the University of Delaware where they are conducting extensive research on a possible predator of the bug. If I hear anything more, I will let who ever is interested know. Thanks

Yvonne wrote at 2011-03-18 14:05:35
This is the response I got from one of the department staff at University of Delaware, Dr. Brian Kunkel.


You are right they do not bite.  It sounds as if you had a reaction to the chemical they release from their scent glands.  Stink bugs release a chemical from these glands when disturbed; thus how they got their name stink bugs.  Farmers and day laborers at various orchards have experienced 'burns' from handling these stink bugs during the summer.  Some of it is allergic reactions to the chemicals released from handling the bugs.  Some workers claim to have extensive burns down their backs from when the bugs fall down their shirts during the summer while they are in the field.  The reaction you are experiencing is due to these chemicals not the pheromones most likely.  Stink bugs do not have pinchers, but do have piercing/sucking mouthparts.  Stink bugs could potentially bite, but they repeatedly demonstrated that they do not bite.  I hope you are feeling better soon.


Darcy wrote at 2011-05-03 13:35:03
I HAVE been bitten by stink bugs twice in the last two weeks.  My home has been inundated with them (there is an apple orchard where I live in Lancaster County, PA).  I have them in my bedroom despite my best efforts to get rid of them. I am certain that is what is biting me - it leaves a swollen itchy area that then progresses into an enlarged scab that lasts for a couple of weeks.

Linda, Central Maryland wrote at 2011-05-03 19:38:06
They do indeed bite. The other night my husband got up to go to the bathroom. When he turned on the light and lowered this underwear there was a stick bug stuck to his penis! He said it was hard to remove. He also said it hurt and left a brownish mark about the size of a nickle. At first I started to laugh, then realized he was dead serious. They must bite with the same apparatus they use to puncture fruit.

Annie wrote at 2011-05-20 13:12:58
I was bitten in my bed at the back of the knee multiple times.  It HURTS.  This is day 6 and the bite marks are just as red and painful as ever.  My husband had found the stinkbug lying on the cover.  It must have gotten caught as I was bending my knee and bit/stung/whatever.  Mine are small in size with the puncture in the center. Why is there no information coming out from professionals about this??  I'm going nuts with these things

Joann wrote at 2011-06-10 01:20:31
A stink bug landed on my eyelid at the inside corner of my eye. As soon as I flicked it off my face, my skin began a burning stinging sensation. My hand smelled as did my face,and it immediately reddened the skin. Eight hours later and it is still red and irritated. Hoping it is gone by the morning. These bugs are not so harmless after all!! 06/09/2011

Melanie wrote at 2011-09-21 19:56:40
Im not sure that they bite but when one got on my 11yr old son last night and he knocked it off it released its odor and it left a big round red mark on his neck and we washed it immediately and put ice on it and today it looks like a red burn about the size of the stinkbug.... hope this invasion goes away

Zhana S. wrote at 2012-08-31 05:39:04
Apparently, a stink bug is what nailed me (I presume whilst sleeping) a week or so ago. I am suffering from a violent histamine reaction, including big red welts on both inner ankles, a huge blister on my left arm and a larger NICKEL-sized, fluid-filled blister on my right arm. Additionally, my extremities have become quite edemic to the degree that my ankles "disappeared" for a couple of days. Doctor put me on prednisone (yuck) which hasn't done a thing - yet. I am just miserable - and terrified to go to sleep. So what was crawling around our bathroom moments ago? Another blasted stink bug!It's enough to drive one completely mad!

7Towers wrote at 2013-10-05 22:44:08
Stink Bugs are a general name for many types of what is termed True bug, Hemiptera family of 80,000 or more species.

 Those considered to be pests, such as the marmorated stink bug invasive (not native to US)along with several native types have very thin proboscis.They are able to pierce leaf , fruit and other green vegetation and to my knowledge unable to penetrate human skin.

On the other hand the Kissing bug of the Reduviidae species can cause the Chagas disease.  

Unfortunately many in the family of the Reduviidae as well as other species from Hemiptera are generalist predators veraciously feeding on a wide variety of damaging insects making them highly beneficial.

The Assassin (wrongly grouped as the same as kissing bug in comment above) along with the Wheel Bug and many others are excellent to have in the garden.

While they can bite they usually don't unless provoked with excessive handling. They provide insect control lessening the need for toxic pesticides.

Here below is a link to images and pictures to help distinguish the differences between species and where they reside.  

B wrote at 2014-03-08 13:39:30
Have had a problem with stinkbugs for months.  It's not so bad in the rest of the house, but lately they've been driving me crazy in my room.  I keep the door closed except when entering or exiting, so I don't know how they're getting nourishment to stay thriving there.  Last night I killed about 40.

Today I woke up with a bright orange spot on my face.  Last night I remember smelling the stinkbug smell strongly and couldn't sleep, so I sprayed a room mist but that didn't mask the smell.  I figured out there was one spot on my pillow that smelled particularly, so I turned it around.  I also have a vague memory of itching my face in the night, so I'm thinking this stinkbug burned my face, leaving this bright orange mark.  Somebody above mentioning the marks as bright orange seems to confirm we experienced the same thing.  It's been a couple hours and I'm very, very worried after seeing people say this left scars on them.  It's dime-sized and on my face, so it's very noticeable and I just last night was upset about self-esteem issues so this is the cherry on top.  If anybody sees this, please think of me and hope for me that it'll get better.

Tom Pestak wrote at 2014-10-25 19:21:16
Stink bugs definitely bite (or do something).

I'd read that they don't, but here's my evidence.

I put on my boots (which I leave outside in an area where we've had stink bugs).  After about 10 minutes, I felt a stinging in my boot - like a bee sting or something.  I took off my boot, and noticed an orange spot on my sock - almost like orange marker.  I took my sock off, and noticed an orange lump, slightly larger than a pencil eraser (and not raised much at all).  I was trying to figure out what the heck caused this.  At first I assumed the orange was just a dye on top and I could wash it off.  Nope.

Then I emptied out my boot and there were two dead stink bugs.  Nothing else, no spiders or sharp objects.  The real evidence, though, is that the orange (and a tiny splotch of blue/green in the middle) on my sock spelled EXACTLY like a stink bug (that pungent, almost cilantro smell) but just at that location.  Four or 5" lower and no stink bug smell.  Just directly on the discoloration in my sock that was directly above the orange lump on my foot.

So yeah, everyone saying stink bugs don't bite are incorrect.  That said, I did stick my foot in a boot with them - it's not like one has ever landed on me.

Here is the picture of the the wound:

And here is the sock that was covering it (again, this discolored spot on the sock smelled exactly like a stink bug)

Don wrote at 2016-03-01 02:22:48
Stinkbugs  do bite somehow as I woke up this morning in Virginia with pain on my neck and I swatted at it and saw a stinkbug crawling on my arm, Now I have two nickle size welts that have been burning and itching all day. I did have a routine Doctor visit and was informed they had never saw a stink bug bite but did prescribe prednisone. Hopefully this will help

Don wrote at 2016-03-07 16:43:37

The prednison is not helping,the place on my neck burns and itches like a burn or a bee has just stung me and redness is moving out from the initial spot and a week later is really no better.I can find nothing clearly stated to help I will contact my Doctor today

Amanda wrote at 2016-04-17 01:26:34
I woke up with a stink bug on my pillow and noticed my wrist was a little itchy then stinging. It looked like a bright orange spot like a crayola marker but wouldn't wash off. Took a couple weeks to go away and left a light scar. I'm assuming it was the stink bug that got me after reading above answers but have never seen anything like it.

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Walter Hintz


I can answer any questions about insects and spiders.


I have taught science for over 57 years. I am presently teaching biology at the college level. I have done extensive graduate work in entomology.

Momentum Magazine The Ohio Journal of Science

B.S. In Ed Kent State Unuv M.Sc The Ohio State Univ National Science Foundation Fellowships: Electron Microscopy Univ of California Entomology Kent State Univ

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