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Are Stink Bugs Poisonous?

By Jeanne Grunert

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None of the thousands of species of stink bugs worldwide are poisonous to people or pets, yet they are pests all the same. Stink bugs damage corn, potatoes and other crops. They get their name from the foul-smelling chemical they release when injured, startled or attacked. The spray smells something like cilantro, but its odd chemical stench lasts for hours.

Humans

A startled stink bug will react by biting or spraying a foul-smelling liquid from the thorax. The liquid isn't poisonous, but if it gets into the eyes, it can burn or sting. Rinse the eyes and see a doctor immediately to ensure you have no permanent damage. Stink bugs rarely bite people -- but if they do, there's no worry. The bite itself isn't poisonous, just itchy. It disappears after a few days.

Pets

Some cats and dogs enjoy chasing and eating stink bugs. According to Dr. Daniel Franklin of the Mid-Atlantic Veterinary Hospital, stink bugs aren't poisonous, but their secretions can cause pets to vomit or drool excessively. The bug secretions irritate a pet's gastrointestinal tract. The upset will pass on its own.

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Author

Jeanne Grunert has been a writer since 1990. Covering business, marketing, gardening and health topics, her work has appeared in the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books, "Horse Illustrated" and many national publications. Grunert earned her Master of Arts in writing from Queens College and a Master of Science in direct and interactive marketing from New York University.

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