Stink Bug Eggs – 3 batches

2012 December 5

On May 19, 2012, Sandy found this patch of eggs on a lilac leaf, so she gave it to me to hatch out.

Which they did, exactly a week later (May 26).

These are clearly stink bugs, family Pentatomidae. As for what kind of stink bugs, who knows? They all look a lot alike at this age.

See for example these eggs, that Sandy found on a plum-tree leaf on June 14, 2012.

They’re obviously a different stinkbug, with that mirrorlike sheen and the much longer fringes around the seam where they will pop open. That longer fringe is generally characteristic of the genus Podisus. Yet what comes out of them just a few days later (June 19) looks pretty similar to the previous batch.

And, at about the same time (June 16), Sandy also found these creamy-white eggs on a rosemary leaf in the herb garden:

These were very close to hatching when found, the brown spots are the eyes and similar features of the soon-to-hatch nymphs.

And those also turned out to be stink bugs.

The first and third batches look an awful lot alike, and are probably closely related, although the eggs were laid about a month apart so I kind of suspect they aren’t the same species. Another point is that they were laid on wildly divergent plants – lilacs are not much like rosemary, both of them have significant chemical defenses against being eaten, and I’d be inclined to doubt that a herbivorous insect would be equally likely to suck juices from both of them.

Although, there is a pretty good chance that these were actually predatory stink bugs, which we evidently have a significant number of. As I plan on showing next time. And in that case, the plant that the eggs are laid on would be completely beside the point and totally irrelevant.

6 Responses
  1. December 5, 2012

    Borrowing photo, link on the way …

  2. December 5, 2012

    Wow. I’ll need to look up some old shots I took of TEENY, tiny eggs, much like the 1st ones you showed. It’s amazing how tiny yet geometrically perfect they are. Thanks for the helpful post!

  3. December 5, 2012

    oh, p.s. I just noticed your url. SO funny! =)

  4. sandy permalink
    December 5, 2012

    Even if they are predatory, the plant may still matter. For example, if the mother laid the eggs on a plant with aphids, the little cuties could start munching right away, whereas on the rosemary they may need to travel elsewhere to find a first meal.

  5. December 7, 2012

    Despite the fact that I am up to my eyeballs in social studies and ethics homework, I could not resist the stink bug post.

    I can’t imagine how your part of the world could be teeming in blots of eggs everywhere and I haven’t found a single hatch of eggs in my part of the world.
    Am I simply blind?
    Or do you have an infestation the size of Manhattan?

    The bugs are cute and button like and could be very Canadian in terms of their emblem value. I could see them on gloves and hats to commemorate the toxic tailings ponds we have spreading all over our Alberta landscape (augmenting the fracking fields).

    The differences between each batch of eggs that Sandy found is also rather neat. The second set look rather like mercury drops or shining pearls.

    But I must not get poetical.

    These are vile things otherwise why are they called stinkbugs?
    Do they stink?
    Or do they eat and then stink?

    If I found them in the sewing basket I never use perhaps they would appeal as buttons.
    The first set of stink bugs look like they are dressed in Tartan skirts.
    The second set look rather morbid and dark (but maybe this is just the lighting for that second set).

    Lilac leaf.
    Plum tree leaf.
    Rosemary leaf.

    These are promiscuous critters.
    If they aren’t finicky bugs maybe this is why you have an influenza size outbreak in your part of the world.

    I’m going to keep looking over and under leaves in my garden and family gardens to see what I may have missed.

    I always learn something on your blog (chiefly what I do not know).

  6. December 7, 2012

    Thanks for the link, KT.

    Biobabbler: “Tiny” is the operative word. These eggs are only about a millimeter, if that.

    Sandy: I kind of suspect that the predatory stink bugs might tend to drop down to the ground to hunt springtails if they don’t immediately find anything on the plant. It would actually make sense for them to lay eggs on plants that nothing much else eats. That way, they wouldn’t tend to get interfered with before they hatch.

    Julie: They are actually pretty hard to spot, the egg clusters don’t look like much until you look at them very closely. Sandy has sharp eyes.

    As for the stinking, I’m told they stink a lot, particularly when they are squeezed or crushed. But, I can barely smell them. I’m also told that their main stink chemical is the same compound that makes up most of the odor of cilantro. And cilantro is one of those spices where the human ability to smell/taste it varies wildly, from “Wow, this stuff is strong!”, to “Why are you using this as a spice? It tastes like grass. ” (I’m in the “tastes like grass” group).

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