gardening - stink bugs - any beneficial or all pests?

Asked January 20, 2019, 9:01 PM EST

Are all kinds of stink bugs pests in a native garden or only certain species? and How can I keep them off my azaleas?

Clackamas County Oregon insect issues

1 Response

Thank you for using Ask an Expert to satisfy your curiosity about sink bugs.

There are many colors and sizes of insects in the stink bug “family”. Some of them are pests of our yards and gardens, while others are not. There is even a predator stink bug that attacks grubs, beetle larvae, and small caterpillars. Keeping a diversity of plants, shrubs, and trees in our gardens will keep the “good guys” in balance with the “bad guys”.

The pest stink bugs generally attack tomatoes, beans, squash, and other vegetables, as well as raspberries and other fruits. Keep an eye out for them this summer. In the landscape, they can attack the seedpods and fruits of native and ornamental plants.

Though they are not currently known as a pest of azaleas, the azalea lace bug is a new pest to our Pacific Northwest landscapes. Early season, timely sprays of insecticidal soap or horticultural oils can be quite effective in controlling this pest. Other strategies include releasing the predatory lacewing and planting beneficial insect plants. For more information about protecting your plants from the Azalea Lace Bug, see here: https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog/files/project/pdf/em9066.pdf

Have a good gardening year,