Pirate bugs are tiny predators that can inflict a painful bite.
But, before you try evicting pirate bigs from the garden, it is important to know that pirate bugs are your best defense against thrips.
Pirate bug identification & lifecycle
Pirate bugs are actually called ‘minute pirate bugs’ because of their small size. Adults may only reach 1/5” in length and many varieties feature black and white patterns. Minute pirate bugs have a triangle-shaped head with relatively long antenna. Pirate bug eggs are laid within plant tissue, providing protection. Within 3 weeks, an egg can metamorphose into an adult. Pirate bugs can be purchased commercially for release.
Pirate bug prey
In addition to thrips, minute pirate bugs will attack and feed on whiteflies, aphids, mites, psyllids, and small caterpillars.
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