This tool is part of the Citrus Resource

Citrus Pests


Leaf-footed and stink bugs


Scientific name


Order Hemiptera, suborder Heteroptera

Similar species


True bugs, particularly in the suborder of Heteroptera, are commonly mistaken for beetles and cockroaches. Each group can be easily distinguished by antennae type, mouthparts, and wing position at rest.

Beetles Cockroaches True bugs
Antennae Segmented antennae Long, filamentous Varies
Mouthparts Chewing Chewing Piercing-sucking
Wing position at rest Elytra fold flat to create a straight line down the middle of the back Wings directly overlap on the back Wings gently overlap on the back and have a shield-like shape

Diagnostic characteristics

  • Smallest - 12 mm (0.5 in.).
  • Largest - 20 mm (0.79 in.).
  • Broad to elongate shield shape.
  • Shield shape is monochrome or marked with transversal patterns like zigzags, dots, or stripes.
  • Either mottled in appearance or with a solid green to black body.
  • Forewings have a leathery base and membranous tip (hemelytra).
  • Hindwings are membranous.
  • Membranous hindwings fold beneath the hemelytra when at rest
  • Closed hemelytra lay flat against the body.
  • Hind legs are either slender or leaf-shaped.
  • The 'feet' or tarsi are 3-segmented.
  • Antennae are at least 4-segmented.
  • Antennae either uniform yellow to brown or multicolored with light bands.
  • Dark red to black eyes.
  • Piercing-sucking mouthparts (rostrum) are 4-segmented and arise from the anterior portion of the head.
  • If disturbed, odorous glands on abdomen will emit a pungent odor.
  • Smallest - 1mm (0.04 in.).
  • Largest - 1.8 mm (less than 0.1 in.).
  • Barrel-shaped to cylindrical in shape.
  • Creamy white to pale green but may darken during incubation.
  • Several species glue eggs onto the underside of leaves.


Citrus hosts

Some heteropteran species have all citrus species and their hybrids listed as hosts, including the brown marmorated stink bug and southern green stink bug. See individual fact sheets for more detailed information.

Non-citrus hosts

Heteropterans have a broad host range that includes weeds as well as vegetables, field, and flower crops. See individual fact sheets for more detailed information.

Host damage


Nymphs and adults prefer to feed on young, developing fruits. Feeding leaves brown dimpling and dark discoloration marks. Over time, damaged fruit may collapse inward and bear empty seeds. Necrotic spotting and fruit drop can occur during heavy infestation.


Nymphs and adults cause leaf discoloration through excessive feeding. Leaves can wilt, appear yellow (chlorosis), or have brown discolored markings.


Nymphs and adults will feed on tender, growing shoots resulting in browning and stem withering.



Females deposit eggs either in single rows or in clusters on foliage, stem tissue, or on the underside of leaves or fruits. Eggs hatch about a week later. Nymphs aggregate and feed on the host plant stems, leaves, and fruit for about one month. After five instars, nymphs molt into adults. Adults overwinter and emerge in the spring to mate and resume feeding by switching host plants. If threatened or disturbed, adults emit a distinct, sharp odor through the scent glands.



Davies, F. and L. Jackson. 2009. Pest disease and weed management for the bearing grove, pp. 204-221. In Citrus growing in Florida. 5th ed. University of Florida Press. Gainesville, Florida.

Jacobs, S. 2010. Brown marmorated stink bug, Halymorpha halys. Penn State University- Department of Entomology. Extension Publication PH-1. (

Kamminga, K., D.A. Herbert, S. Malone, T.P. Kuhar, and J. Green. 2009. Field guide to stink bugs of agricultural importance in the upper southern region and mid-Atlantic states. Virginia Cooperative Extension. (

Mead, M.D. 1971. Annotated key to leaffooted bugs, Leptoglossus spp. In Florida (Hemiptera: Coreidae). Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - Division of Plant Industry. Entomology Circular 113. (

Triplehorn, C. and N. Johnson. 2004. Hemiptera. Pp. 268- 273 In Borror and DeLong's Introduction to the study of insects. 7th ed. Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning. Belmonte, California.



Guerrero, S., J.A. Weeks, and A.C. Hodges


Citrus Pests
Content last updated June, 2012