What IS That? Stink Bugs vs. Kissing Bugs: How to Spot the Difference

Two insects that often cause confusion are stink bugs and kissing bugs. They may seem similar at first glance, but they are, in fact, two very different bugs.  In this guide, we’ll help you distinguish between the two, learn about their habits, potential dangers, and provide effective tips for prevention and elimination.

Stink Bugs:

Stink bugs are notorious for their distinctive odor and are typically found in gardens, orchards, and homes seeking shelter. Here’s how to identify them:

  • Look for their shield-shaped bodies, ranging in color from mottled brown and green to gray.
  • When threatened or crushed, stink bugs emit a pungent odor, similar to coriander or cilantro.
  • These bugs have triangular or pentagonal-shaped plates on their backs.

Kissing Bugs:

Kissing bugs, also known as assassin bugs, are primarily active in warmer regions, including Eastern North Carolina. While their presence may vary from area to area, it’s important to be aware of their potential existence as these nocturnal pests can carry Chagas disease, making it important to identify and address them promptly:

  • Kissing bugs have elongated bodies, usually dark brown or black, with a narrow, oval-shaped head.
  • Look for reddish, orange, or yellow stripes along the edges of their bodies.
  • They possess long, thin mouthparts, which they use to bite humans and animals.

Habitats and Behaviors:

Understanding where these bugs dwell can help you pinpoint potential infestations:

  • Stink bugs are commonly found in gardens, farms, and homes, seeking shelter during colder months.
  • Kissing bugs prefer hiding in cracks, crevices, and areas near their hosts, such as woodpiles or nests of animals they feed on.

Harmful or Not?

While stink bugs are primarily a nuisance, causing damage to crops and emitting unpleasant odors, kissing bugs pose a more significant health risk due to their potential for transmitting Chagas disease. It’s crucial to take swift action if you come across kissing bugs or suspect an infestation.

Dealing with Stink Bugs and Kissing Bugs:

Here are some steps you can take to manage these pests:

  • For stink bugs, use a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to safely remove them from your home. Remember to dispose of the bag or clean the canister afterward.
  • Prevent stink bug entry by sealing cracks, gaps, and other potential entry points in your home’s exterior.
  • Kissing bugs should be handled with caution. If you encounter one, do not crush it. Instead, carefully capture it using a jar or container and contact a pest control professional for proper identification and elimination.
  • Minimize potential hiding spots for bugs by decluttering your home, especially in basements, attics, and storage areas.
  • Consider consulting with a professional pest control service if you experience persistent bug problems or want a comprehensive solution tailored to your needs.

Prevention and Elimination:

To keep these bugs at bay, here are some effective DIY tips:

  • Seal cracks and crevices in walls, windows, and doors (exclusion) to prevent entry.
  • Repair damaged window screens and ensure tight-fitting door sweeps.
  • Remove vegetation near your home’s foundation to deter stink bugs.
  • Reduce outdoor lighting, as it attracts both stink bugs and kissing bugs.
  • Clear clutter, especially in basements and attics, to eliminate hiding spots.
  • Consult with a pest control professional for a comprehensive solution.

Nix ‘Em With Terminix!

By distinguishing between stink bugs and kissing bugs and implementing our prevention tips, you can safeguard your home and loved ones from potential nuisances and health risks. If you’re facing persistent bug problems or need expert guidance, don’t hesitate to contact Terminix for comprehensive pest control solutions for year-round protection against pests. To schedule a free home pest inspection, call or text 800-284-7911 or fill out our convenient contact form on the web. 

Take control of your space and bid farewell to unwanted pests today!