What Happens If You Swallow A Stink Bug

by | Last updated Jun 30, 2023 | Bugs

Let’s say, for example, you are out ther jogging or riding a bike enjoying your morning and, whoosh! The next moment a stink bug lands in your mouth. Agh! It’s certainly an awful experience. But mostly, the story ends there. You either spit it out of your mouth or sometimes –gulp! – you accidentally swallow it down to your stomach.

Well, some questions will most definitely pop whenever you think of such a scenario!  For example, is eating a stink bug actually harmful? What happens if you swallow a stink bug? Are they poisonous? Continue reading, and hopefully, you will get concrete answers to this questions.

First of all, we need to understand what a stink bug is

Overview -What Is A Stink  Bug?

The name “stink bug.“ comes from the disgusting odor they emit whenever they are attacked or feel threatened.  If you squash it, you will notice an awful smell due to aldehyde’s emission (a type of chemical that is responsible for the smell).

Some experts believe the foul smell acts as a defensive mechanism for the bugs against predators.

With that out of the way, let’s get down to business!

Do you remember the nursery rhymes, “I know an old lady who swallowed a fly – I don’t know why she swallowed the fly,”  ok, scientists have proved that the next line in that song, “perhaps she will die.” is not valid.

And therefore answering one nagging question:- Are stink bugs poisonous if swallowed?  Scientists believe stink bugs are not poisonous or harmful when ingested. However, the skanky-smelling fluids emitted when stinks bugs are swallowed or smashed may irk your eyes and mouth.

What Happens  If You Swallow A Stink Bug?

Keeping in mind that there are numerous places worldwide where stink bugs and other insects are a daily delicacy and a source of protein. Let’s try to tackle this question of what happens if you swallow a stink bug or any other insect, for that matter.

If you happen to swallow a stink bug, it goes down through the food pipe (esophagus) into the stomach. Here it gets chopped up and proccesed just like any other meal, and whatever remains comes out the other end “when you go to the toilet.”

Stink Bugs Might Irritate Your Mouth

Even though it’s a fact, you don’t need to worry when you swallow a stink bug.  The story can be different if you happen to swallow a live stink bug, it will produce some unpleasant smell that will irritate your mouth and also have an itchy feeling for a while. This horrible stench might stay on your mouth for a few minutes – an awful feeling.

You might want to wash your mouth with a lot of water, and if the horrible smell is still there, you can opt to brush your mouth with toothpaste – let’s hope that helps!

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When Do You To Take The Issue Serious

“ My child ate a sting bug- should I get worried ?”  this is a question many doctors have been asked many times.

For someone who is allergic, eating or swallowing a bug can prove to be a serious problem, from swelling of your mouth, throat, or face to difficulty in breathing. Other issues include a decrease in blood pressure, nausea, or even heart failure.

Other people, especially asthmatics, can suffer from breathing difficulties if they inhale the stink bug’s chemical fluids. If such an issue occurs, it usually resolves itself within a few days, and if it is more serious, you may need to take some antibiotics or, better yet, visit a doctor.

Stomach upset is another issue that might occur if you happen to swallow a bed bug. Poor digestion of the bug may result in stomach discomfort, which can lead to vomiting, and in some cases, it can lead to severe diarrhea.

Though not proven, eating a stink bug that has eaten insecticide can also lead to stomach discomfort.

Related Reading How To Get Rid Of Stink Bug Smell On The Skin


Can Stink Bugs Kill You If You Swallow Them?

Can swallowing stink bugs be fatal? The answer is a big “No.”. Stink bugs are not harmful to human health. But when chewed inside the mouth, they often emit a chemical fluid with a very nasty taste and smell that might cause stomach discomfort, mouth irritation, and vomiting. Especially if you are allergic or you have any existing health conditions.

Eating stink bugs is a common thing, especially in young kids and toddlers. The good thing, though, is that the kids will only experience mild symptoms in most cases. Expect the young champ to be up and running, eating other food in a couple of hours.

Do Stink Bugs Carry Diseases?

They do not bite humans , and they are not known to spread disease or inflict physical damage. However, some individuals may be allergic to the chemical fluids and smell produced by the stink bug.

Even though they do not pose any direct danger to humans, you should be more careful when handling them to avoid the nasty odor. Other than that, they can be a bit nuisance to people, especially when they come in large numbers.

Can A Stink Bug Fly Into Your Lungs?

In the unlikely event that you have inhaled a stink bug, the human body has a way of systematically removing any foreign object without you even noticing. Most of the time, the bug will get stuck on the nosal walls and excreted from your body together with other nasal secretions.

If it happens to reach the throat trachea, your body will feel the presence of a foreign object forcing you to cough severally and clearing your throat.

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Final Thought

Even though they have a smelly reputation, stink bugs are pretty harmless to people and animals in general(but we can’t say the same for fruits and vegetables).

If you are so unlucky to experience the disgusting experience of chewing a stink bug or you’re your kid is so unfortunate to take a bite of this smelly guys. Don’t worry; it is highly improbable they will hurt or harm you in any way.


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