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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

MINUTE PIRATE BUGS OR Flower Bugs

Forficulidae

Scientific Names 
The most common species found are the minute pirate bug Orius insidiosus (Say) and the insidious flower bug Orius tristicolor (White)

Identification
Orius spp.
Eggs: 

  • 0.55 mm long
  • Clear
  •  Deposited inside plant material and rarely seen

Nymphs:

  • 0.2-0.5 mm
  • Yellow-orange to brown
  • Teardrop-shaped and wingless
  • Fast-moving and often take refuge in developing leaves and flowers
  • Have piercing-sucking mouthparts used to subdue and feed on their prey

Adults:

  • Orius insidiosus adults are 3 mm long, oval with black and white wing patches
  • Fast-moving and often take refuge in developing leaves and flowers
  • Have piercing-sucking mouthparts used to subdue and feed on their prey
  • Anthocoris spp. adults are 3 mm long

Often Confused With

N/A

Interactin With Host
Orius spp. and Anthocoris spp. are common predators in numerous agricultural crops. Both adults and nymphs suck body fluids from their prey. When prey populations are low, they will feed on pollen and plant juices. Both immature and adult Orius spp. consume 30 or more mites/day. 

Period of Activity
Spring until fall.

Insects Attacked
Adults and nymphs feed on aphids, thrips, insect and mite eggs, and small caterpillars.

Monitoring and Management
O. insidiosus appears in vineyards in mid April and remains active through to October.  Anthocoris spp. adults are first active in late April to early May and most abundant in late July and early August. They occur most frequently on the under surfaces of leaves, searching along the mid-ribs for prey.

Minute pirate bug (D. Epstein, MSU)
Minute pirate bug Anthocorid adult with aphid prey (Photo by Bradley Higbee, Paramount Farming Co.) Nymph-Anthocoris species(Photo by Bradley Higbee, Paramount Farming Co.)Click to enlarge.