This tool is part of the Citrus Resource

Citrus Pests


Southern green stink bug


Scientific name


Nezara viridula (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae)

Other common names



Similar species


green stink bug, Acrosternum hilare



United States: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Worldwide: tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australasia, and Europe.

Native to Africa (Ethiopia).

Diagnostic characteristics

  • Solid green.
  • Shield-shaped.
  • Eyes dark red or black.
  • 14 - 19 mm (0.5 - 0.75 in.) in length.
  • Odorous glands on abdomen.
  • 5 nymphal instars.
  • Resemble adult with shield shape.
  • First instars aggregate near egg mass and do not feed.
  • Second instars feed but remain aggregated.
  • Fourth and fifth instars are solitary feeders.
  • Black head, thorax, legs, and antennae appear in second instar.
  • Abdomen and spaces between 2nd, 3rd, and 4th antennal segments are red.
  • Wing pads apparent in the fifth instar.
  • 1.0 mm (0.04 in.) in length, 0.75 mm (0.03 in.) in width.
  • Pale yellow to cream-colored when deposited.
  • Pink to bright orange just prior to hatching.
  • Cylindrical.
  • Deposited in tightly-packed clusters.
  • Glued to substrate.


Citrus hosts

All Citrus species and their hybrids, but particularly destructive to common mandarins (including tangerine), Citrus reticulata.

Non-citrus hosts

Over 52 documented host plants including ornamentals, weeds, and cultivated crops. A partial list includes:

  • all cruciferous vegetables, Brassica oleracea
  • bean, Phaseolus vulgaris
  • coffee, Coffea spp.
  • corn, Zea mays
  • cotton, Gossypium spp.
  • Crotalaria spp.
  • peach, Prunus spp.
  • peanut, Arachis hypogaea
  • pecan, Carya illinoinensis
  • Sorghum spp.
  • soybean, Glycine max
  • tobacco, Nicotiana tabacum
  • tomato, Solanum lycopersicum
  • wheat, Triticum spp.

Host damage


Feeds preferentially on young, developing fruits.


Will feed on tender, growing shoots.



Southern green stink bugs overwinter as adults. In the spring, adults mate and then resume feeding. Eggs are deposited in clusters on the underside of leaves or on fruiting structures. Individuals progress through five nymphal instars. The time from egg to adult is 35 - 57 days, depending on temperature. Adults will commonly switch host plants.



Stink bugs prefer wild hosts. Populations build up on wild host plants, and adults may move to crops late in the season as preferred foods mature.



Squitier, J.M. 2010. Featured creature fact sheets: southern green stink bug, Nezara viridula (Linnaeus) (Insecta: Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). EENY-016. University of Florida. (

Todd, J.W. 1989. Ecology and behavior of Nezara viridula . Ann. Rev. Entomol. 34: 273-92. (



Weeks, J.A., A.C. Hodges, and N.C. Leppla


Citrus Pests
Content last updated June, 2012