The southern green stink bug is often called the green soldier bug. This species is found throughout North America, Central America, and down into South America. In the United States, it is most prevalent along the Gulf Coast and in the Southeast.
These stink bugs are about ½ inch long. They are broad, flattened and somewhat shield-shaped. The adults are solid green, unlike their earlier nymph form.
Females lay their keg-shaped eggs in batches on the underside of leaves to hide them. The nymphs themselves are bright orange when they hatch, but soon turn black with white speckles. The older nymphs are greenish and look much like wingless adults. The nymphs are gregarious and tend to stay in groups. These bugs complete a life cycle in about 35 days, and they may complete as many as five generations in a year.
The southern green stink bug has needle-like mouth parts. These bugs feed mainly on fruit, but they will also feed on leaves. They damage plants by piercing the tissue and sucking out the juice. Their saliva contains a toxin and damaged fruit become deformed or have hard yellowish spots in it. They can cause serious damage to tomatoes, pepper, okra, beans, and peas.
These bugs have scent glands on the sides of their body, and if they are handled or disturbed they will emit a foul smelling odor.