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Stink Bug Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

You may have seen stink bugs outside or inside your home, but you probably tried to stay away from them because they smell bad! You probably didn't think much about where they live and what they eat. This lesson will teach you about stink bugs and how they live.

What are Stink Bugs?

Stink bugs are bugs that give off a very bad smell when they are bothered, moved, hurt or crushed. This nasty smell comes from glands by their legs that produce a stinky, bad-tasting chemical. They use this chemical to defend themselves and drive off predators that might want to eat them. They are the skunks of the bug world!

Stink bugs are usually brown or bright green, but they do come in other colors, too. They are a little under an inch long and shaped like a triangular shield. They also have six legs, antennae and wings.

Green Stink Bug
Green stink bug

Stink bugs are considered true bugs, which means they are part of a special group of insects. True bugs have mouth parts that look like bird beaks and can pierce and suck. They use their mouth parts the way you might use a straw to drink a soda or shake.

Brown Stink Bug Eating a Plant
Brown stink bug

What do Stink Bugs Eat?

Stink bugs eat mostly plants and fruit, but a few kinds also eat beetle larvae and caterpillars. They use their special mouth parts to suck the juices out of fruits, vegetables, leaves, stems and flowers of trees, shrubs, crops and other plants.

Both the green and brown stink bugs are considered pests because they damage the fruit and plants that they eat. They cause harm to crops such as apples, corn, pears, peaches and tomatoes. This costs farmers money because they can't sell the damaged food.

Stink bugs are growing in number because there are only a few natural hunters in the United States who eat them for food. People are working to find ways to control them before the number of stink bugs continues to go up, and they damage even more plants, trees and crops.

Green Stink Bug Eating a Tomato
Green stink bug eating a tomato

Where do Stink Bugs Live?

The common brown stink bugs we now see in our yards, gardens and farms were accidentally brought into the United States from Asia. They also live in many other areas in the world.

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