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-   -   Stink bugs (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=807059)

Hilarity N. Suze 10-11-2016 01:39 PM

Stink bugs
 
I just googled "stink bug" as a consequence of seeing one and wondering how damaging they are to roses, basil, trees etc.

I ran into not one but at least three sites saying that stink bugs only appeared on this continent (North America BTW) in the 1990s. In one case the site (Pennsylvania extension services) spoke only of the "brown marmorated stink bug" but the other sites seemed to be talking about all stink bugs.

Now the weird thing is that stink bugs, called that and looking exactly like those pictured on the internet, have been around forever. As in, I remember them from when I was a kid, and I was a kid a long, long time ago. These bugs were around in various states I lived in. I don't remember specifically seeing them in California, but I saw them in Oklahoma and Texas (of course, those states would have the latest bugs).

So what's going on here? Why is the internet telling me these bugs are recent immigrants? In the case of one site, which is something like "science for children*," the information appear to be wrong (gasp!) and should probably be corrected...somehow.

Colibri 10-11-2016 01:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hilarity N. Suze (Post 19693291)
So what's going on here? Why is the internet telling me these bugs are recent immigrants?

Most likely because the people who posted the information have no idea what they are talking about.

As you already know, "stink bug" is the common name for members of a family (or several families) of insects. There are thousands of species, many of them native to North America.

I see that nearly all the first few pages on Google on "stink bug" are devoted to the invasive Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, which probably gives some people the impression that it is "the" stink bug.

carnivorousplant 10-11-2016 01:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hilarity N. Suze (Post 19693291)

So what's going on here? Why is the internet telling me these bugs are recent immigrants? In the case of one site, which is something like "science for children*," the information appear to be wrong (gasp!) and should probably be corrected...somehow.

They were in Arkansas when I was a kid. I believe they immigrated from Memphis.

Do you reckon folks are committing plagiarism? :dubious:

carnivorousplant 10-11-2016 01:53 PM

I believe there are different species. Euschistus ictericus is a North American native that I remember from my youth.

Upon seeing Colibri's post, never mind. :)

Lightnin' 10-11-2016 02:01 PM

I used to see green stink bugs all the time back in the 70s and 80s in central Texas. They weren't really a big deal.

It's the brown marmorated stink bugs that are the worry- they're an invasive species from China that got started on the east coast of the US in the 90s. About four or five years ago, when I was living in Maryland, I took a picture of a couple of hundred sunning themselves on the outside wall of my house. At that point, it was estimated that they were responsible for the loss of about 20 percent of local crops. Nothing eats them.

I've found a few of them here in Salt Lake City, where I now live, but they don't seem to be taking over like they did in the east.

Trinopus 10-11-2016 02:38 PM

I just Googled "California Stink Bug" and followed some links to this reference. They call it a "Dentate Stink Beetle" and these guys have been around in southern California all my life (and I ain't young.) The reference also calls them "Darkling Beetles," a term I've never heard applied to them.

When you irritate 'em, they elevate their posterior and release a musky scent that's really only mildly unpleasant. They also bite.

MrDibble 10-11-2016 03:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Trinopus (Post 19693457)
I just Googled "California Stink Bug" and followed some links to this reference.

That's terrible.

That Google did that to you, I mean.Beetles aren't bugs.

Trinopus 10-11-2016 03:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MrDibble (Post 19693547)
That's terrible.

That Google did that to you, I mean.Beetles aren't bugs.

Grin! Folk taxonomy! We've called 'em "stink bugs" forever and a day.

(Next you'll tell me glow-worms aren't actually worms!) ;)

bob++ 10-11-2016 03:57 PM

And Sea Horses ain't horses...

Hilarity N. Suze 10-11-2016 05:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Colibri (Post 19693308)
Most likely because the people who posted the information have no idea what they are talking about.

...

Ah, got it. Well, one of the sites called the stink bug a "true bug" and another one said it wasn't actually a bug, so, you know. Not everything you see on the internet is true.

Thanks to all for confirming my lifelong informal study of the stink bug.

septimus 10-11-2016 07:10 PM

Where I live we sometimes get sudden huge accumulations of various insects, including a species of แมงกะแท้, which I called "stink bug." I called it this in total ignorance because, well, it stank! Before we'd even moved into the house there was a huge accumulation on the balcony and I was afraid the stench would never go away. Fortunately they only arrive in small numbers now, perhaps about once or twice a year.

Looking into it now, I see the bugs I'm speaking of are in the Dung Beetle family, in a completely different Superorder from the Stink Bug family. It's also distinct from (though in the same suborder as) the Stink Beetle family.

engineer_comp_geek 10-11-2016 07:52 PM

In Pennsylvania where I live, the stink bug as we know it now is a relatively new phenomenon. Sure, other varieties of stink bugs may have existed here before then, but they were so rare that I don't remember ever seeing one. The invading brown marmorated stink bug went from being virtually non-existent to "holy shit how do we get all of these freaking stink bugs out of our homes!" in a very short period of time. Before them, we had no stink bugs (well, technically we may have had a few). Now, we have lots and lots and lots of stink bugs.

I get your point that saying that all stink bugs didn't exist in North America is clearly wrong. But there is a point to be made that around here, the brown marmorated stink bug is THE stink bug. It's the only one that you are likely to encounter. If someone around here says "stink bug" that's the only stink bug type that they'll be talking about.

Colibri 10-11-2016 10:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hilarity N. Suze (Post 19693925)
Ah, got it. Well, one of the sites called the stink bug a "true bug" and another one said it wasn't actually a bug, so, you know.

Stink bugs belong to the Order Hemiptera, which entomologists refer to as "true bugs." Pedants use this fact to castigate people for referring to insects in general, as well as spiders and other small arthropods, as "bugs.""Bug," first used in the 14th Century, is a perfectly correct word to use for all small crawling things. I don't know when entomologists adopted the restricted meaning, but there's no reason not to use bug in a general sense.

Stink bugs are bugs in both senses, so whatever site said they weren't is very mixed up.

Quote:

Not everything you see on the internet is true.
-Abraham Lincoln

Mangetout 10-12-2016 01:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Colibri (Post 19694532)
Stink bugs belong to the Order Hemiptera, which entomologists refer to as "true bugs." Pedants use this fact to castigate people for referring to insects in general, as well as spiders and other small arthropods, as "bugs.""Bug," first used in the 14th Century, is a perfectly correct word to use for all small crawling things. I don't know when entomologists adopted the restricted meaning, but there's no reason not to use bug in a general sense.

Nice to see common sense prevailing. Words can mean more than one thing - the same sort of thing has happened with 'Organic'. it doesn't only mean 'containing carbon'.

RenaissanceMan203 10-12-2016 02:31 AM

Leptoglossus occidentalis is what I know to be a stink bug, and I'm from KC.

MrDibble 10-12-2016 05:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Colibri (Post 19694532)
there's no reason not to use bug in a general sense.

I can think of one...

MrDibble 10-12-2016 05:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mangetout (Post 19694767)
it doesn't only mean 'containing carbon'.

It didn't mean that when I did organic chemistry, either - carbonates, for instance, are not organic compounds (even the ones of biological origin). Neither is diamond.

Jackmannii 10-12-2016 07:35 AM

So far I've only seen a few stink bugs (of whatever species) outdoors, and any damage they may be doing to ornamental plants is negligible to absent.

Supposedly in areas they've invaded en masse it's a different story.


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