Stink Bug vs Bed Bug: What Are the Differences?

Stink bug vs bed bug there are similarities, like their size and shielded shape. However, the similarities stop there. What are the differences between these two bugs? We will cover in detail the similarities and differences between a stink bug vs a bed bug.

Nobody wants stink bugs or bed bugs in their house. However, most people will tell you that they’d much rather find a stink bug than a blood-sucking bed bug.

What’s the Difference Between a Stink Bug and a Bed Bug?

Stink bugs get their name from the fact that they release a foul odor when they’re threatened or crushed. On the other hand, bed bugs are named for their preferred habitat of feeding on your blood while sleeping in bed!

One of the most crucial differences between a stink bug vs bed bug is that a stink bug does not survive on blood. Stink bugs eat all kinds of vegetation, from house plants to fruits, to veggies.

Many people don’t realize that a stink bug will eat many other insects and insect eggs in your garden. Therefore some people consider them a beneficial predatory insect.

In contrast, a bed bug is a parasitic insect that only eats blood. Learn how often a bed bug feeds here. In short, stink bugs don’t bite humans, whereas bed bugs do.

Remember that an adult stink bug is 17mm, whereas an adult bed bug is 5-6 mm. Both bed bugs and stink bugs are in the order Hemiptera. Therefore this means that they both have piercing-sucking mouthparts as well as antennas.

Stink Bugs lay up to 28 eggs simultaneously, whereas bed bugs only lay 1-3 eggs per day.

Check out our chart below for more similarities and differences in bed bugs vs stink bugs.

You might also like to know about the differences between a male vs female bed bug.

Bed Bugs vs Stink Bugs – A Chart With Similarities and Differences

stink bug vs bed bug

FeaturesStink BugsBed Bugs
Adult Size17 mm5-6 mm
ShapeShieldShield or blulbous oblong after feeding
ColorBrown or greyReddish Brown (brighter red after feeding)
LifecycleEgg – Nymph (5 stages) -Adult
Egg – Nymph (5 stages) -Adult
What do they eat?Plants and other bugsBlood
Do they bite humans?NoYes
Do they fly?YesNo
Do they spread diseases?NoNo
How long do eggs take to hatch?7 days7-10 days
Do they secrete odors from glands?YesYes
Are they true bugs?YesYes
Where do they live?Outdoors and indoorsMainly indoors in close proximity to humans

Can Stink Bugs Be Mistaken for Bed Bugs?

If you find one of the nymphal stink bugs, their size may be similar to that of a bed bug. However, the similarities stop there aside from size and a few anatomical features. Stink bugs are also one of the types of bugs that look like cockroaches too.

A stink bug is greyish brown, with a shielded pattern on its back. In contrast, a bed bug is reddish-brown with light horizontal stripes. Furthermore stink bugs are much larger than bed bugs, check this guide out: bed bug size!

Stink bugs and bed bugs are both in the Hemiptera order of insects, commonly called true bugs. There are over 80,000 bugs in this order; some include aphids, bed bugs, stink bugs, water scorpions, and cicadas. There are plenty of stink bugs in New York, as well as worldwide.

So while bed bugs and stink bugs are under the insect order Hemiptera, they are in a different family. Since stink bugs are in the Pentatomidae family and bed bugs are in the Cimicidae, they have similarities but their behaviors and look are different.

More Interesting Reading Here Where do bed bugs come from? (what causes them?)

phylogenic classification of bed bugs vs stink bugs

Do Stink Bugs Go in Beds?

Stink bugs are common household pests that often find their way indoors. While these nuisance pests are not known to transmit disease, they can be a significant annoyance. Stink bugs get their name from the foul odor they release when crushed or disturbed.

If you’ve ever found one in your bed, you know just how unpleasant this can be! However, you may wonder if stink bugs go in beds on purpose. The answer is generally no.

Stink bugs are attracted to light and typically prefer to stay close to windows and doors. A stink bug is not one of the common “bugs in a bed that are not bed bugs“.

However, they may end up in your bedding or inside your box spring because they are looking for a warm place to overwinter. Since they hibernate on your bed during the fall and winter, they will often stay put since it is dark and quiet.

If you find a stink bug in your bed, the best action is to remove it and let it go outside carefully. You can help keep these pests out of your bedroom with a little effort!

Be sure not to crush the stink bug in your bed because then the odor will release.

Stink Bug vs Bed Bug: What Are the Differences?

Stink Bugs in My Bed, Why?

It’s more common to see flour beetles in your bed than stink bugs. They are not out to infest your bed, although the best thing you can do is to remove them and put them outside carefully. If you find a stink bug in your bed, it just means it accidentally found its way into your home.

The fall and winter are when they go into hibernation, so if you find one, it’s likely to be in the hibernation stage.

Stink bugs tend to communicate with other stink bugs to alert them of a good hibernation spot. So if you’re still seeing stink bugs in your bed, there are a few things you can do to help keep them out:

  • Minimize hiding spots.
  • Vacuum your mattress, box spring, and headboard regularly.
  • Don’t keep a lot of clutter around your bed.

Do Stink Bugs Eat Bed Bugs?

No stink bugs do not eat bed bugs. Learn all about the natural predators of bed bugs here. Stink bugs can feed on ladybugs, their eggs, and their larvae. There are a few other outdoor dwelling insects that stink bugs eat; however, bed bugs are not on that list.

Do Bed Bugs Smell Like Stink Bugs?

No bed bugs have a slight odor that smells like dried cranberries. On the other hand, stink bugs have a peppery scent similar to coriander or cilantro.

Is There Such a Thing as a Grey Bed Bug?

No, bed bugs are not grey. If you see a bug with a similar shape and size as a bed bug, but it’s grey, it might be a stink bug nymph.

Do Stink Bugs Smell When You Kill Them?

A stink bug emits this odiferous compound through tiny holes on the side of its thorax. They can spray the odor a few inches into the air, and then the chemical compound will travel to your nose!

If you smash a stink, the fluid in the scent glands will release into the air. However, not everyone thinks this stink bug smell is offensive! For some people, it smells like rotting garbage, and for others, it smells like sweet herbal tea.

Final Thoughts on Stink Bug vs Bed Bug

So, now that you know a little more about stink bugs and bed bugs, what’s the difference? In short, stink bugs are less of a nuisance and far easier to get rid of than bed bugs. Bed bugs are notorious for being incredibly difficult to exterminate and can live for months without feeding!

If you think you may have a bed bug infestation, it is best to call in an expert immediately. However, if you only have a few or even one stink bug invading your home, they are easily eliminated by picking them up and placing them outside. 

If you live in the New York metro area (including New Jersey or Long Island) Feel free to give us a call if you find either stink bugs or bed bugs invading your home. We can help you figure out what to do.

For more interesting articles on “this versus that” check out:

Termites vs bed bugs: what is the difference?

Lice vs Bed Bugs: A guide with photos!