Removing Stink Bug Stains on Skin: Stink Bug Burns, Stink Bug Vs June Bug

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Pest Control | January 17, 2024

Woman freaking out over stink bug stains on skin wonders what do stink bugs smell like, are stink bugs dangerous, what about stink bug burns and learning how to get stink bug smell off of skin.

Anyone who has ever been ‘stinked” by a stink bug wonders about how to remove stink bug stains on skin.

Not only can the stench be overpowering, the stains generated by the ‘stink juice’ are yucky.

If you have ever tried to erase one of these blemishes, then you know that it’s one of the most difficult types of stains from an insect to get rid of.

Although soap and water is the common first try method, there are other options for getting rid of this invasive species particular odor.

This guide outlines how to remove stink bug stains on skin and how to deal effectively with all the wretched results of getting sprayed by this unique insect defense mechanism.

Removing Stink Bug Stains on Skin

Not everyone is the same when it comes to the severity of the stains inflicted by stink bugs which can include itching.3

For some people, the stain or stains will dissipate over a few days, but imagine if they are on your face or other noticeable parts of your body and are showing no signs of fading away.

Graphics with images and text that shows household solutions on how to get stink bug smell off skin such as baking soda, salt mixed with olive oil, vinegar, and toothpaste.

This is not so uncommon and the stains have been documented to remain seemingly imprinted on the surface of the skin for up to 27 days or even longer. With this knowledge, it’s always better to find a solution that will enable you to scrub it away as soon as possible.

Warm water and soap is probably the least effective control method, but the rest aren’t much better. The chemicals in the stains are resistant to vinegar, baking soda, olive oil mixed with salt, and any other solutions apart from time.

At the end of the day, all you can do is keep washing the area and hope it goes away sooner rather than later, or use a foundation to cover up the unsightly stain if it is in a very noticeable place.

How To Get Stink Bug Smell Off Skin

How to get rid of stink bugs is a lot easier than removing stink bug stains on skin surfaces. Simply washing the area with soap and water will eliminate the foul odor even if it will take a while to do so.

Other household solutions that work wonders are:

  • Baking soda
  • Salt mixed with olive oil
  • Vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Toothpaste

No doubt there are a few other home remedies that can erase the odors, so try them as they may be more effective for you than those above. But refrain from using any harsh chemicals that may harm your skin more than they will help to eradicate the smell.

Stink Bug Stains on Skin: Stink Bug Burns

The chemical that the stink bug is capable of spraying up to a distance of 75 cm, is called cimicine.

When it comes into contact with your skin it penetrates the upper layer immediately, leaving behind a nasty red stain that will turn brown over the preceding days.

On contact, some sensitive individuals can experience a burning sensation, similar to a bee sting, which will subside by itself without treatment over a few days. If you do experience any prolonged discomfort, seek out the assistance of a medical professional.

In extreme cases, anaphylactic shock (anaphylaxis) has affected some people who exhibit symptoms of swelling, hives, and breathing difficulties.2 Those are rare, fortunately, with the second most problematic reactions occurring when the spray comes into contact with your eyes either directly or when you accidentally rub them.

If you’re unlucky enough to have that happen to you, a recommended household treatment to relieve the pain is to rinse and wipe around your eyes with milk. But, although effective in dampening that pain, milk is completely ineffective in removing stink bug stains from your skin.

So what is it, and can you just wait for it to go by itself?

Stink Bug Vs. June Bug

Despite the fact they don’t look very much alike, the stink bug and June bug are often mistaken for each other.

Graphics of Stink Bug vs June Bug showing images and text comparing a Stink bug and a June bug on green background.

When comparing the stink bug vs. june bug side by side, the differences are easy to spot.

CharacteristicsStink BugsJune Bugs
Size12-13 mm12-25 mm
ColorBrown and grayReddish-brown, or green
FlightClumsyVery capable

Neither of these pests is directly harmful to people, but both can be a nuisance around the home.

If you’re unlucky enough to have either or both of them plaguing you in your own home, contact a bug specialist who will know all the other household insect names as these two may need different treatments to remove them permanently from your property.

Stink Bug Infestation

Before 1998 there were no stink bugs in the United States, but they quickly became an invasive species in 41 of the 50 states within a few short years after they stowed away on packing crates in containers from their native lands of China, Japan, and Korea.

Harmless to humans and animals, the stink bugs are no bigger than 1.7 cm but in the space of 10 years, they have wreaked nearly $40 million worth of crop damage and loss to apple and other fruit farmers.

Close up frontal view of a stink bug.

(Image: DeusXFlorida (12,841,275 views) – Wow – thanks guy6)

If they had stayed in their lane, confined just to farmland, perhaps they wouldn’t have become so infamous, their population explosion possibly controlled by insecticides. But when the summer months shorten and the weather gets colder, they have a tendency to head indoors.

Which generally means the comfort of your home. And if they then become an infestation, well, then they can quickly become quite a smelly problem.

What Do Stink Bugs Smell Like?

Stink bugs don’t appear very dangerous but they do appear attractive to predators, an irresistible snack-size morsel for birds, spiders, assassin bugs, and even some mammals.1

To deter these predators from devouring them at will, stink bugs have developed a defense mechanism where they spray or emit a foul stench that has been compared to that of a skunk or rotting meat.

Because they have neither venom nor sharp teeth to bite and defend themselves against predators, this chemical is released from their exoskeleton when they feel endangered, or when they are accidentally crushed.

But, what do stink bugs smell like? The most revolting body odor, to some people.

The offensive odor isn’t the same for everyone, reminding some people of the aromatic smell of cilantro, while others detect the odor of sulfur and ammonia or even nothing at all.

In an outdoor setting, the stench is not so easy to detect as a slight breeze will whisk it away so it won’t linger for long. Inside your home is another matter.

In an enclosed space, stink bugs can become a nuisance more for their noisy buzzing around than for any harm they can do to your home, to you, or your pets as they won’t bite, sting, or suck your blood while you sleep.

However, don’t be lulled into a false sense of complacency as accidentally or purposefully squishing one of them can cause an allergic reaction in some while in others removing the stink bug stains on skin can be a major challenge.

How To Kill Stink Bugs

Just like Carpenter ants, stink bugs do not like to be disturbed, even though they are disturbing you in your own home by flying around in an ungainly manner and occasionally just falling clumsily out of the sky straight into your coffee or evening meal.

The smell they spray around is normally done when the fed-up homeowner decides that enough is enough and tries to wipe them out one bug at a time.

Unfortunately, the squashing-them-flat method comes with consequences as it also serves to release the chemicals that cause the hard-to-remove stains that you will want to avoid at all costs. To prevent this from happening, don some thick gloves that the cimicine cannot seep through as at some stage you may have to handle the dead bugs regardless of which one of the stink bug treatments below you decide to use.

  • Vacuuming is a fast method where the bugs can be removed safely and quickly into a sealed bag before they even have time to release their foul-smelling odors.
  • Spray neem oil directly onto the bugs will kill them relatively quickly.
  • The use of insecticidal soap and water will cause them to suffocate and die and then, with gloves still on, you can pick them up and throw them away.
  • You can also capture rouge stink bugs in a tissue or toilet paper and then flush the yucky pest away, like other stinky substances.

For larger infestations, your best option is going to be to call on the professionals to eliminate your household pest control problem rather than purchasing insecticides yourself and trying to finish them off.4 If you’re not careful, you may end up doing more harm to the occupants of your household than the bugs.

What Is the Purpose of a Stink Bug in the Larger Scheme of Things?

Since their first appearance on the shores of America, stink bugs have been considered a blight and a destructive pest for farmers. Yet out of the 260 known species, some of them are more beneficial than others in that they prey on other insects such as caterpillars and beetles that are problematic for the crops of farmers.

They also help beneficial wasps and ants to feed on the sap in the plants that they would otherwise not have access to, and they in turn help to clean out any invasive pests that are injuring the plants at the same time.

All in all, it is a very symbiotic relationship where, sometimes, the drawbacks are outweighed by the benefits.

Knowing how to remove stink bug stains on skin, as well as how to prevent the stench they spray can save you from dealing with a yucky problem.

Frequently Asked Questions About Removing Stink Bug Stains on Skin

Are Stink Bugs Dangerous?

Fortunately, they are harmless to humans and animals unless their chemical enters the eyes or the individual has an allergic reaction to the insect’s defensive spray if it comes into contact with their skin.

Do Stink Bugs Bite?

Even though they have the ability to pierce the surface of leaves to get at the sap, stink bugs do not bite and their only seemingly aggressive action is in fact a defensive one when they release their noxious chemicals to deter attackers or anything that they perceive to be a threat.5 So don’t get too close.

How Long Does a Stink Bug Burn Last?

If you’re patient, stink bug stains on skin will naturally start to fade away after a few days depending on the size of the stain.

Read More About Stink Bug Stains on Skin


1Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program & University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. (2023). Assassin Bugs. IPM | UCANR. Retrieved December 1, 2023, from <>

2MedLine Plus. (2016, September 21). Anaphylaxis. MEDLINEPLUS. Retrieved December 1, 2023, from <>

3Brooks, J. (2023, August 9). How to Stop Bug Bites from Itching. CUIMC. Retrieved December 1, 2023, from <>

4Kard, B., Wright, R., Shelton, K., & Luper, C. (2017, March). Household Pest Control. OKSTATE. Retrieved December 1, 2023, from <>

5Texas A&M Agrilife Extension. (2023). What is sap? TAMU. Retrieved December 1, 2023, from <>

6Stink Bugs Taking Area. Photo by DeusXFlorida (12,841,275 views) – Wow – thanks guy. (2010, October 15) / CC BY 2.0 DEED | Attribution 2.0 Generic. Cropped and Resized. Flickr. Retrieved November 30, 2023, from <>