Organic Gardening - How to Control Stink Bugs on Tomatoes

The stink bug is a common pest with tomato plants and other plants in the garden. I North America alone there are 250 species and worldwide there have been over 4,700 species described in almost 900 genera. They live throughout the world in our fields, meadows and yards and can be controlled by a few different methods in organic gardening.

It is the member of the bug family pentatomidae and easily recognize with having a shield like body. There life cycle like all hemipterans undergo simple metamorphosis with three stages that are the egg, nymph and adult. Eggs are laid in groups on plant stems and the underside of leaves. The nymph look very similar to the adult but have a rounder rather than shield shape body. The nymphs go through 5 instars before becoming an adult and this all happens in a 4 - 5 week period. A major problem in gardens is that the adult stink bug will overwinter in the garden under debris, boards, logs or even leaf litter. There are some species that the nymph will do the same.


A stink bugs diet in a garden can be devastating. They use there piercing mouth part to suck sap from the leaves, stems and fruit of plants and can cause injury to them. The stink bug actually begins it's life as a herbivores and then becomes a predator. As a predator it will overpower caterpillars and beetle larva and keep pest insects in check.

The defense system against other predators is it's smell. They expel a foul smelling compound from there thoracic gland when threatened. This smell sends a chemical message to other stink bugs that there is danger in the area and it can also suppress the attack of harmful microorganisms. This scent also plays a role in the attraction of mates.

There are organic methods to aid in the control of the stink bug. These methods include companion planting, trap planting, washing and spraying.

Companion planting is one of the best methods to prevent the stink bug from getting into your garden. This is simply done by planting herbs and other natural deterrent plants with your crop that will repel stink bugs, like marigolds, chrysanthemums, garlic, lavender, mints and thyme.

Another method that will keep the stink bug off your plants and deter them from your garden is to simply wash the plants with straight water daily for about a week.

There are sprays that can also be made by mixing either vegetable oil, olive oil or even lavender oil with 1/2 water and spray your tomatoes.

Trap planting is a method that attracts the stink bug to a location away from your garden. The stink bugs is know to like the color yellow. Crops other that your common crops you plant in your garden like sunflowers, buckwheat, triticale, sorghum and millet are plants that will attract the stink bug to a location that you can deal with them.

Fall cleanup of the garden is very important in pest control in an organic garden. Leaving debris in the garden give them the perfect environment to overwinter.

Organic Gardening - How to Control Stink Bugs on Tomatoes

A environment friendly and healthy way of gardening. Organic Gardening is away of gardening in harmony with nature. Growing a healthy and productive crop in a way that is healthier for both you and the environment.

John Yazo