Identifying an Invasive: The Case of the Stink Bug

Brown marmorated stink bug

Brown marmorated stink bug. Source: iStock

Several insects look similar to the invasive brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), including brown stink bug, spined soldier bug, and dusky stink bug.

In fact, on, a website of the Northeastern IPM Center dedicated to the invader, the most popular page (besides the home page) is the one about stink bug look-alikes.

You might confuse BMSB with native, brown stink bugs of the genus Euschistus. An easy way to distinguish them is to look at their undersides. BMSB has a brown-gray underside; brown stink bugs, native to North America, have a yellowish-green underside.

You can distinguish the spined soldier bug, Podisus maculiventris, from BMSB by looking at the shoulder angles. The spined soldier bug has sharp, acute angles at the shoulders compared to BMSB, which has more rounded, obtuse angles. The spined soldier bug, as a generalist native predator, reports for duty as a good soldier and in fact will eat BMSB.

The dusky stink bug, Euschistus tristigmus, is generally smaller than BMSB. Dusky stink bugs also have pointed shoulders, similar to the spined soldier bug.

For detailed photos of the brown marmorated stink bug and to tell the good bugs from bad, visit


The Northeastern IPM Center promotes integrated pest management for reducing risks to human health and the environment. If republishing our news, please acknowledge the source (“From Northeast IPM Insights”) along with a link to our website.