Predatory Stink Bug offspring are all flash and color in their youth, but like most species, all that changes with maturity.
The physical form of juvenile and adult of Predatory Stink Bugs is quite different. Young nymphs are round and mostly bright red or orange, looking somewhat like small Lady Beetles. As they grow, bands of white lines develop and the nymph becomes flatter. Adults are a drab brown, having lost all remnants of youthful radiance after molting into adult form. This less conspicuous coloring makes for good camouflage and allows the adult to get closer to insect prey undetected. The predatory part of this bug has to do with its attack and dispatch method. Predatory Stink Bugs have short beaks and sucking mouth parts that are used to siphon nutrition out of a living food source. They slowly approach caterpillars, pupae, and other insects that may be larger, and stab the oblivious bug to begin feeding from it. Members of one species of Predatory Stink Bug feeds on plant juices when very young, but it graduates to caterpillars and sawfly larvae as an adult.
Adults hibernate over winter and emerge in the spring to seek mates. Females lay fertilized eggs under leaves or other objects where they hatch within a week in the right conditions. After several instars, a species like P. placidus reaches maturity in just a month. The diet of plant-chewing insects makes the Predatory Stink Bug a beneficial partner in the garden.
Scientific Name: Podisus spp.
Size (Adult; Length): 7mm to 11mm (0.27in to 0.43in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.