do any birds eat stink bugs

The list of native natural enemies that attack brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) includes other species of insects, spiders, and even some birds and mammals. For instance, birds to a certain extent, feed on BMSB adults[1], and small mammals such as rats may feed on BMSB eggs[2]. However, insects and spiders are largely recognized as the most important group of natural enemies of BMSB. These natural enemies can play an important role in reducing BMSB populations, and understanding how these different species behave in nature is key to developing successful biological control programs.

Arthropod natural enemies (insects, spiders and relatives) can be grouped into one of two general categories: parasite or predator. A parasite lives on or in another animal at the expense of the host. A parasitoid is an organism that lives on or in a host organism for a portion of its life and ultimately kills the host.[3] A predator is an animal that kills and consumes multiple prey during its lifetime. It’s debatable which group of insects—parasitoids or predators—have a greater impact on BMSB populations, as it depends on the habitat, but both are significant players. Learning to identify and protect these beneficial natural enemies can help them prosper around your farm, garden, or home.

Some of the most common insect parasitoids are small wasps that lay eggs in insect hosts, often in the eggs of other insects. The wasp larva feeds inside the host egg, halting its development. The parasitoid emerges from the nonviable host egg as an adult wasp. Egg-attacking parasitoids are the most common type of natural enemy of BMSB.

Much of what we know about parasitoids of BMSB comes from studies that use sentinel eggs. These are stink bug eggs, often obtained from laboratory-reared colonies, which are attached to a piece of index card or other material so that they can be placed in the field and retrieved at a later date to determine their fate.

These studies can tell us, for example, who are the important natural enemies of BMSB and how often parasitoids are successful in attacking BMSB. Success for the parasitoid might be defined as a live young insect emerging from an egg; from a human perspective, i.e., in terms of pest regulation, success is defined as a reduction in the BMSB reproductive potential.

In a two-year study in agricultural crops in the eastern US, predation, mainly by chewing predators, accounted for the majority of BMSB egg mortality.[4] Parasitism of BMSB eggs by native parasitoids was very low, ranging from only 1 to 4% of eggs. Predators, both those with chewing and sucking mouthparts ranged from about 9 to 22%. However, rates of parasitism and predation vary among habitats. For instance, parasitism rates as high as 10% have been observed in soybean fields, and in wooded habitats it can exceed 20%. Parasitism levels differ by habitat, in part, due to variation in parasitoid species occupying habitat niches.

It is noteworthy that U.S. scientists have recorded native parasitoids parasitizing > 50% of native stink bug eggs. This difference in successful attack of a native versus an introduced stink bug suggests that incompatibility may be at play. While the native parasitoids may not be decisive in the battle against BMSB, they help reduce populations.

Studies have also shown that spiders can play an important role in suppression of BMSB populations in human dwellings. When adult BMSB were introduced into the webs of various spiders, there was a greater than 50% chance of ensnarement and consumption. The most common spider families that snuffed out BMSB were Theridiidae, Pholcidae, and Agelenidae. Thus, while spiders will not catch every BMSB, they are an important contributing factor in reducing BMSB nuisance problems in homes.

There are many common native natural enemies of BMSB. Learning to identify them, and using integrated pest management (IPM) to protect them, can support the good guys that are active around your home, farm, or garden.

[2] Chuck Ingels, in a presentation given at the June 2016 meeting of the Northeastern IPM Center BMSB Working Group, showed a picture of a rat eating BMSB eggs on a sentinel card. See slide 50 at Accessed on March 28, 2017.

Jones, A.L., D.E. Jennings, C.R.R. Hooks, and P.M. Shrewsbury. 2014. Sentinel eggs underestimate rates of parasitism of the exotic brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys. Biol. Control 78:61–66; DOI: 10.1016/ Journal of Biocontrol,

Morrison III, W.R., Mathews, C., Leskey, T.C., 2016. Frequency, intensity, and physical characteristics of predation by generalist predators of the brown marmorated stink bug (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) eggs. Biol. Control 97:120–130.

Herlihy, M.V., E.J. Talamas, and D.C. Weber. 2016. Attack and success of native and exotic parasitoids of Halyomorpha halys in three Maryland habitats. PLoS ONE 11:e0150275

Morrison, III, W.R., A.N. Bryant, B. Poling, N.F. Quinn, and T.C. Leskey. 2017. Predation of Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) from web-building spiders associated with anthropogenic dwellings. J. Insect Behav. 30:70–85.

Ogburn, E.C., R. Bessin, C. Dieckhoff, R. Dobson, M. Grieshop, K.A. Hoelmer, C. Mathews, J. Moore, A.L. Nielsen, K. Poley, J.M. Pote, M. Rogers, C. Welty, and J.F. Walgenbach. 2016. Natural enemy impact on eggs of the invasive brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys (Stål) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), in organic agroecosystems: A regional assessment. Biol. Control 101:39–51.,

Morrison III, W. R. , Mathews, C. , Leskey, T. C. , 2016. Predation of brown marmorated stink bug (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) eggs by generalist predators: frequency, intensity, and physical characteristics Biol. Control 97:120–130.

There are two broad types of arthropod natural enemies (insects, spiders, and related species): parasites and predators. A parasite subsists on or inside another animal, using its host as a food source. An organism that spends a portion of its life on or inside a host organism and eventually kills the host is known as a parasitoid. [3] An animal classified as a predator is one that kills and eats several prey during its lifetime. Depending on the habitat, it’s difficult to say which class of insects—parasitoids or predators—has a bigger influence on BMSB populations, but both are important players. Acquiring knowledge about these advantageous natural enemies will enable them to flourish in and around your home, garden, or farm.

There are many common native natural enemies of BMSB. Acquiring the knowledge to recognize them and employing integrated pest management (IPM) to safeguard them can aid the beneficial organisms that are present in your house, farm, or garden.

Other insect species, spiders, and even certain birds and mammals are among the native natural enemies of the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB). For example, to a certain degree, birds consume BMSB adults[1], and small mammals like rats may consume BMSB eggs [2]. Nonetheless, it is generally acknowledged that the most significant class of BMSB’s natural enemies are insects and spiders. These natural enemies have the potential to significantly lower BMSB populations, and creating effective biological control programs requires an understanding of how these various species behave in the wild.

These investigations can provide information about, among other things, the key natural enemies of BMSB and the frequency with which parasitoids are able to attack BMSB. A live young insect emerging from an egg could be considered a parasitoid’s definition of success; however, from a human perspective, i e. a decrease in the BMSB reproductive potential is considered a success in terms of pest regulation.

I only went so far into the overgrown area where this tree is growing that I could see some of the insects on the flowers, but not all the way in. A handful of them were robber flies, which appear like bees to the uninformed eye.

The phlox genus of fragrant annual and perennial flowers, the majority of which are native to North America, is known to symbiotically link native insects with native plants, drawing in a wide variety of insects. An exotic species that has been introduced may take decades to fully integrate into the “eat and be eaten” cycle of natural cycles. The brown marmorated stinkbug is a good example of that. They are only now starting to be eaten by a few birds and other predators.

I’ve observed white-lined sphinx moths at the potted flowers on the deck, hummingbird clearwings, and snowberry clearwings during this recent intense heat wave. These moths feed on the same types of flowers that ruby-throated hummingbirds prefer, with a special fondness for pentas, cupheas, and stachytarphetas.

A few tiny sphinx moths, which are sometimes misidentified as hummingbirds due to their small size, were also tending to the flowers. However, hummingbird clearwing is just a name for one of them. Birds lack antennae, and hummingbird juveniles resemble adults in size and form.

It’s as far from native as it gets, but I recently found a blooming tree on our property with gorgeous sprays of yellow flowers adorned with bees and other insects. I was given two Chinese golden-rain trees by friends about six years ago, which I put out front and promptly forgot about. To be honest, I didn’t think they would grow in the spot where I planted them, but the one that did is already seven feet tall, and in time it will outgrow the surrounding native trees and sumacs.


What animals eat stink bugs?

The list of native natural enemies that attack brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) includes other species of insects, spiders, and even some birds and mammals. For instance, birds to a certain extent, feed on BMSB adults[1], and small mammals such as rats may feed on BMSB eggs[2].

What kills stink bugs instantly?

Soapy Water Fill a wide mouth jar with soapy water (add some vinegar for extra killing power), move it into position beneath a stink bug, and most often it will drop right into the suds and drown. Combine equal parts hot water and dish soap in a spray bottle and spray on windowsill entry points.

Do stink bugs have a purpose?

A few species of stink bug are predators of other insects. These predatory stink bugs can actually help protect crops against destructive pests. They eat caterpillars, beetles and even plant-feeding stink bugs. Stink bugs can become household pests when they invade homes for warmth.