Are Stink Bugs Poisonous?

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Stink bugs – the name doesn’t sound appealing, to begin with. We know that these bugs stink a whole lot. But are stink bugs poisonous? Apart from their stink, is there any reason that we need to be careful of these bugs?

Well, the short of it is that, no, stink bugs are not poisonous. Further, these bugs very rarely bite other human beings. Rather, they simply release their stink when they feel like they are under threat from humans or any other animal.

Anyhow, keep reading this article to understand whether stink bugs are poisonous or not in thorough detail!

Do stink bugs bite?

Stink bugs do not bite humans, even when handled. They emit a bad smell as a form of defense, but they will not hurt you.

Unlike other biting insects, the mouth of a stink bug is not structured to pierce or bite human skin. This means that they cannot hurt you even if you try to touch them.

However, their smell can be quite potent and overwhelming, so it is best to keep your distance!

Are stink bugs poisonous?

Their only defense mechanism against other human beings is the release of a stinking odor that generally works quite effectively at warding off predators away from them.

This odor is the result of a secretion from their bodies that can also cause itchiness or burning sensations if your skin comes into contact with it. This is essentially why you should not squish stink bugs in your hands!

Interestingly, most stink bug species are herbivores and eat mainly plant materials by sucking juices from the leaves, roots, and stems of vegetation. They pose no threat to humans as they do not bite or sting.

However, there are a few species of stink bugs that can be considered pests as they invade homes in search of food.

Are stink bugs dangerous to us human beings?

Stink bugs are not dangerous to humans. They do not sting, bite, or release any type of harmful toxin. However, this does not mean that you should keep them as pets or neglect their presence in your house entirely – they can be quite smelly!

Though stink bugs are not poisonous to us, they can be dangerous in other ways. During the springtime, they often invade homes, and when people accidentally crush them, the stink bugs release a foul-smelling secretion.

Furthermore, smashing or crushing them can cause them to secrete the substance for an extended period of time.

Stink bugs are not dangerous insects.

While stink bugs themselves are not poisonous to us, some people who come into contact with the secretion they produce can have a severe allergic reaction.

This secretion is known as allelochemicals, and it contains a variety of chemicals that can cause skin irritation and other symptoms in those who are highly allergic to it. 

While these reactions are rare, they can be quite serious for the individuals who experience them. Symptoms such as runny nose, itchy eyes, uncontrollable teary eyes, and dermatitis can occur during these rare cases.

Some people are also allergic to this secretion or substance that stink bugs release when crushed and may have an anaphylactic shock if stung. In addition, stink bugs can spread diseases such as E. coli, salmonella, and streptococcus.

However, human blood is not attracted by the smell of stink bugs, and they do not spread human diseases.

Are stink bugs poisonous?

Stink bugs are not poisonous, and they cannot hurt you.

Stink bugs release a foul-smelling liquid through pores on their abdomens when they are disturbed or feel threatened.

This liquid can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions and is very unpleasant. While stink bugs themselves are not poisonous, their behavior can make them a nuisance.

Now it is worth remembering that a thing can only be poisonous when ingested by us. Therefore, to clear any confusion that you might have, even eating them is not poisonous, so to speak.

That said, the chemical that these bugs secrete can cause irritation to your gastrointestinal lining, nausea, and vomiting.

Stink bugs are not poisonous.

Essentially, you only need to worry about stink bugs if they are present in your house in large numbers or during their mating seasons.

You will understand if either of these two scenarios exists because stink bug behavior is such that they use the chemical for inter-group communication and mating signals too!

If either of these cases persists, the home remedies to get rid of these bugs that I have included below might just be of great use to you!

How can you get rid of stink bugs by using home remedies?

Stink bugs are typically attracted to a variety of smells, but some of the most common ones are flowers and plants. If you happen to have a stink bug issue in your home, there are a few different things you can do to get rid of them.

While there are some commercial pesticides that can help get rid of stink bugs, there are also a few, easy-to-implement home remedies that you can use.

Seal your house.

Prevention is the best way to deal with these pests, so be sure to close up all the possible entry points and use screens in your chimneys. You can also plant wildflowers around your house to keep them away.

Capture and dispose of them properly.

One way is to use a bottle, plastic bag, or paper and release them outside the house. Another way is to vacuum them up and then dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag immediately.

Finally, you can also spray them with soapy water and then wipe them down with a rag.

Use the ingredients available at home.

Home remedies that you can implement using the ingredients readily available at home include using garlic, hair sprays, neem oil, soapy water, hot peppermint, and vacuuming. If you are looking for a chemical-free solution, then try using natural ingredients like these.

If nothing works, get in touch with a pest control professional.

Although there are many home remedies for getting rid of stink bugs, sometimes these methods do not work. In this case, it is best to contact the customer care department of a pest control service.

The professionals at the pest control service will be able to help get rid of the stink bugs and will also provide advice on how to prevent them from coming back.

Why do stink bugs release some chemicals that stink and some that don’t stink?

Nearly every animal on the face of this earth uses their pheromones or other bodily secretions to convey certain things to the other members of their species.

Even human beings secrete pheromones to attract mates. Similarly, while stink bugs do use their chemical to get rid of predators, they also have other uses for it!

For the purpose of aggregation.

Interestingly enough, the aggregation pheromone is not a defensive compound and does not smell bad. The compound actually helps the stink bugs congregate for reproduction and has been found to be attractive to both males and females.

Essentially, the signal that this chemical is meant to send is to invite other members of a stink bug’s species to check a specific thing out with the stink bug that releases the pheromone.

Therefore, upon finding either sustenance or a place to live, these bugs often release this aggregation pheromone to call their group!

To attract mates.

The stink bug secretes a variety of chemicals in order to attract mates. These chemicals are also released when the stink bug is disturbed or feels threatened. While these secretions may not be harmful to humans, they can be irritating and cause an unpleasant odor.

The secretion contains a pheromone that other males, nymphs, and sometimes even other species of stink bugs are attracted to.

To defend themselves against threats.

Stink bugs release a foul-smelling liquid as a defense mechanism. This odor is created by chemicals that are commonly found in cilantro. The smell is generally considered to be unpleasant, but it is not known to be harmful to humans.

The fact is that the odor that stink bugs secrete is foul enough to potentially drive predators away. The smell is so foul, in fact, that it’s the main way these bugs defend themselves against threats.

Do cats eat stink bugs? What would happen if they ate a stink bug?

Cats wouldn't generally eat stink bugs.

Stink bugs have a strong smell that cats are repelled by. This means that cats are not likely to eat a stink bug, even if they are hungry. The smell and taste of a stink bug are so unpleasant that they can also make humans sick.

While the smell emitted by stink bugs is actually intended to keep predators like cats away, if at all, a cat was to eat a stink bug, it’s likely that the bug would give the cat an upset stomach at best or poison the cat at worst.

Are stink bugs poisonous to dogs that are kept as pets at home?

If your dog eats a stink bug, it will probably cause them some stomach upset or even oral irritation. While stink bugs themselves are not poisonous to dogs, they may eat them if they are attracted to the bug’s scent.

If your dog is kept as a pet at home, it is important to keep an eye out for these insects and make sure your pup doesn’t accidentally eat one.

If your dog eats a stink bug, you can wash their mouth out with soap and water to get rid of the bad taste. The smell will also dissipate in a few days. However, it is important to take your dog to the vet if they start exhibiting any other symptoms after eating a stink bug.


In conclusion, stink bugs are not poisonous. If at all, you or your pet dog or cat happens to eat them, at most, you will have to deal with symptoms of stomach upset and some oral irritation.

Apart from that, the only thing you need to worry about is the terrible stink of these bugs. Bear in mind that it is not necessary for a stink bug to feel threatened in order to release this stink.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.