Brown marmorated stink bug | Smelly bugs from around the world

For most people, smelling nice is important. For a certain minority, however, smelling bad seems to be just as important (I refuse to believe that this minority smell so catastrophically bad on accident; work has clearly gone into their scent).

But it’s not just humans that spend a lot of time concerned with their bodily fragrance – bugs also put a fair amount of work in. And stink bugs are firmly on the foul-smelling end of the spectrum.

Here’s the second in our series on some of the smelliest species of stink bug from around the world:

Brown marmorated stink bug | Native to Korea and Japan

Brown marmorated stink bug

Our first stinky bug in the series was green and stinky – our next bug is brown and stinky. However, the brown marmorated stink bug (known scientifically as Halyomorpha halys) isn’t just brown – he’s also marmorated, which means “having a marbled or streaked appearance”.

Brown marmorated stink bug

The brown marmorated stink bug (let’s just call him BMSB from now on) can grow to up to 17mm in length, which is about the same size as the green stink bug – small. Also like the green stink bug, the BMSB’s stink glands are on his belly (the underside of his thorax, if we’re being specific).

When disturbed or threatened, the BMSB releases his fragrance which has been described as “a pungent odour that smells like [coriander].”

Brown marmorated stink bug

Another thing the BMSB has in common with the green stink bug is that he’s a major pest to crops – including apple and peach trees. Being a “true bug”, he uses his proboscis to pierce fruit and suck out the goodness while injecting a bit of saliva for good measure. I understand he has to be smelly, but does he really have to have such poor table manners as well!?

Brown marmorated stink bug

The BMSB is well-travelled – even though he was originally native to just Korea and Taiwan, he somehow managed to hitch a ride to the States via Japan or China. It’s thought the BMSBs crossed to North America in packing crates. Even though they’ve haven’t really been there long (the first documented specimen was found in Pennsylvania in 1998), the BMSBs have already made themselves at home, destroying crops and laying eggs all over the place.

Brown marmorated stink bug eggs

Again – cute, but think of the smell…

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Smelly bugs from around the world

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About Dom Stapleton

Dom Stapleton

As well as being the world’s northernmost capital city, Reykjavik in Iceland is also an incredible place to visit.

We stayed in a hotel right in the middle of the city and spent most days walking around from there. The main thing we noticed (apart from the cold, of course) was that the people are so friendly. At home, trying to cross the road is a nightmare, but in Reykjavik, the cars are literally queuing up to let you across.

When my partner and I went, in January 2013, the sun only started rising at about 10 am, which was a strange experience. And it got dark at about 4 pm each day!

Dom works in our marketing team

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