Entomology (Study of Bugs)/mystery bug burn


Marina wrote at 2009-04-28 03:55:36
I put my shoe on and got a burning sensation - took it off and saw smashed bug, that looked like stink bug.  I washed my skin with soap and with ethanol, but it still hurts (already two days)!

Nancy G. wrote at 2010-12-06 05:08:19
Nicole - I am in PA and we had tons of stink bugs this fall.  I sat on one on my bed by accident.  My legs were exposed.  I smelled a stink bug immediately and then this awful burning on the back of my thigh.  Still have a scaly kind of welt there after about two weeks.  

I don't think they bite, I think it was the burn from the stink whatever they let off.  Weird.  Nancy G.

Ringj01 wrote at 2011-01-02 13:27:25
I just got bit by a stinkbug too I was u bed and on my stomach and it was on the back of my leg where the crease in your leg is and I was sleeping and It woke me up from a dead sleep and now it burns like hell and I woke up out of a dead sleep cause it hurt so bad and grabbed it off my leg and it sprayed my hand I def know it was a stink bug I thought they were harmless now I'm parinoid becasue it really hurts!

Yvonne wrote at 2011-03-15 09:32:23
I am not an expert, but I have just experienced a similar situation. I live in Delaware on the Mid Atlantic Coast where the stink bug problem has been deemed an invasion and the Entomology Department at the University is monitoring the bug's natural predator. I'm up early this morning because as I was sleeping in my bed I smelled a horrible odor and felt something on my face. When I tried to flick it away, I heard the very unusual and distinctive sound of the Japanese stink bug. I turned on the light and saw it on my pillow. Then I felt a painful burning on my skin where it was and the area is red, similar to other bug bites I've had in the past. I don't know it it actually bit me, it feels like it did or if the chemical it released caused a reaction on my skin similar to a burn. So could it have been the stink bug that "bit" you? Absolutely. Does it feel like a burn? Most definitely.

Darbi wrote at 2012-05-05 20:20:25
The defensive chemical this insect uses that stinks can indeed burn the skin as I found out last night when I slapped it off an outdoor table. Quickly washing with soap and water brought relief. I live in south Texas in the Rio Grande Valley and find stink bugs eating my hibiscus. Nasty things!

Karen wrote at 2013-09-01 00:03:19
I live on the eastern shore of Maryland( not far from Delaware and Pennsylvania) I was riding the lawn mower today and felt like I had been stung by bees on my buttocks.  I thought this was strange as I had been sitting the entire time. When I checked I had two marks - a little smaller than the diameter of a dime on each side. It was redish orange in color - looked like a chemical burn. I checked my shorts for bees - noticed two discolored spots which wreaked of stink bug. It is not a pleasant feeling.  Washed and covered with antibiotic ointment - but 4 hrs later it still hurts.  Damn stink bugs!

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad


Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.


21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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