UC IPM Online UC ANR home page UC IPM home page


SKIP navigation


How to Manage Pests:

Pest Management and Identification

Minute pirate bugs

Scientific name: Orius spp. and Anthocoris spp.

Life stages of minute pirate bug Anthocoris adult Orius adult Orius nymph Anthocoris eggs

Click on image to enlarge

Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Family: Anthocoridae

Common prey: Predaceous on a wide variety of small insects. Used in greenhouses for controlling thrips.

Commercially available: Yes (Orius spp.)


Adult minute pirate bugs are small, 2-5 mm (1/12 to 1/5 inch) long, oval, black to purplish with white markings, and have a triangular head. Adults can be confused with plant bugs in the family Miridae, which are generally larger, have longer antennae, and only have one or two closed cells in the tip of their forewings. Minute pirate bugs undergo incomplete metamorphosis, and nymphs are usually pear-shaped and yellowish or reddish brown with red eyes. Eggs are inserted into plant tissues where they are difficult to detect. Developmental time for minute pirate bugs is very short, only 3 weeks from egg to adult. They are generalist predators and are often the first and most common predaceous insects to appear in the spring. Minute pirate bugs are common insect predators in many crops including alfalfa, corn, small grains, cotton, soybeans, and tomatoes as well as on ornamentals and landscapes. Adults and nymphs feed on insect eggs and small insects such as psyllids, thrips, mites, aphids, whiteflies, and small caterpillars. Commercially available Orius spp. are sometimes released in greenhouses to control thrips.

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
All contents copyright 2014 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

For noncommercial purposes only, any Web site may link directly to this page. FOR ALL OTHER USES or more information, read Legal Notices. Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual solutions to specific pest problems. See our Home page, or in the U.S., contact your local Cooperative Extension office for assistance.

Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

Accessibility   /PMG/NE/minute_pirate_bug.html revised: April 25, 2014. Contact webmaster.