From my research, I discovered that “Stinky” is from a long line of fine garden munchers. He is a stink bug. More specifically, a Say’s Stink Bug (Chlorochroa sayi). Though some Say’s Stink Bugs are green in color, my particular capture is dark brown with a distinct solid beige outline around its armored back.
There are a few different types of stink bugs, each differing in color and pattern, but they all have the distinctive “armor” back.
At first, I thought my six-legged captive was a squash bug. A common mistake that a lot of gardeners make ~ trust me, I’ve seen lots of posts and videos where gardeners blurt out their error for all to see. Though Squash Bug adults kinda look similar to the Stink Bug, the squash bug’s eggs and nymphs look noticeably different. The recommended pest control practices differ between the two bugs as well.
source: Squash Bug (Anasa tristis) adult
source: Squash Bug (Anasa tristis) eggs
Is it really that important to know what you’re dealing with in the garden? Yes! I cannot say it enough times… knowing an insect’s true identity will ultimately help you to implement the “correct” pest management process at the right time (typically the nymph stage). A little knowledge goes a long way!
Friend or Foe?
And the answer is… Friend. This my friends is a Spined Soldier Bug (Podisus maculiventris) who has a voracious appetite for mexican bean beetles, European corn borers, diamondback moths, corn earworms, beet armyworms, fall armyworms, cabbage loopers, imported cabbageworms, Colorado potato beetles, velvetbean caterpillars, and flea beetles.
As you’re pickin’ off the bad guys, it would be a terrible shame if this friendly little guy got caught up in the mix, well… just because you didn’t know any better 😦