Predatory minute pirate bug, Orius insidiosus for thrip control

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Predator of thrips, Orius insidiosus also known as flower bug because it is attracted to flowers. This bug is also known as minute pirate bug and is considered as the most effective predatory insect that voraciously feeds on different species of thrips. Thrips are tiny insects that are known for causing a tremendous damage to many agricultural and horticultural crops, and ornamental plants. Orius insidiosus are considered as true bugs because they belong to an insect order Hemiptera and they have piercing and sucking type of mouthparts called as beak or proboscis. Adult bugs are very small about 2-3 mm long, oval shaped and black colored. They have two pairs of wings with white markings. Females of Orius insidiosus lay about over 150 eggs during their lifespan in plant tissues. Eggs hatch into small first instar (stage) nymphs and develop through 5 instars (stages) and then they become adults (Fig. 1). The instar nymphs of Orius insidiosus are not predatory in nature but all other instars and adults are aggressive predators of thrips and many other soft bodied insects including aphids, mites and whiteflies. 

Facts (show all)

- Effective against the following pests
  • Aphids, Aphis spp.
  • Eggs of both butterflies and moths
  • Onion thrips, Thrips tabaci
  • Two spotted spider mite, Tetranychus spp.
  • Western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis
  • Whiteflies, Bemisia spp.
+ Key factors for Orius insidiosus effectiveness
  • Since adult Orius insidiosus bugs are strong flyers, they can quickly locate their hosts and feed on them.
  • Both nymphs and adults of Orius insidiosus are predatory in nature.
  • Both these stages of Orius insidiosus use their piercing and sucking beaks to feed on their hosts.
  • Since they have short life span of 3-4 week, they can produce more generations during growing season that helps to suppress pest populations.
  • Orius insidiosus bugs perform well against their hosts including thrips, aphids and whiteflies when optimum temperature is between 62 to 84 °F (16.7-28.9°C).
  • After their application, these bugs can establish themselves in the targeted areas.
+ How predatory Orius insidiosus works in the field
  1. These bugs are supplied as adults and/or nymphs in a container filled with buckwheat hulls or vermiculite.
  2. When applied in the greenhouse, fields or gardens, these bugs will disseminate themselves quickly and search for their hosts.
  3. Nymphs are wingless but they can walk plant to plant and find their food.
  4. Adults are strong flyers and therefore they are good at searching their food.
  5. As adults of Orius insidiosus are attracted to flowers, they can be very effective in controlling thrips that infest flowering plants.
  6. Both adults and nymphs of Orius insidiosus can feed over 20 nymphs and adults of thrips and 30 spider mites per day.
+ Which stages of thrips are killed by predatory Orius insidiosus?
  • Both nymphs and adults of thrips.
+ How many Predator of thrips, Orius insidiosus should be released?
  • In the greenhouses, release 2-3 adults per plant weekly for 3-4 weeks.
  • In the open areas like gardens and fields, release 2000 to 4000 adults/ acre or 5000 to 10,000 adults/hectare.
+ When and how Predator Orius insidiosus should be released for the effective control of thrips?
  • These bugs are supplied as adults and/or nymphs in a container filled with buckwheat hulls or vermiculite.
  • Release Orius insidiosus bugs as soon as possible after receiving the packages.
  • If you are not ready to release, then store them at cooler temperatures between 50 to 59°F (10-15°C).
  • When you are ready, release these bugs by simply sprinkling the mixture of bugs and carrier material (wheat hulls or vermiculite) evenly in the garden.
  • As adult of Orius insidiosus are good flyers, they quickly find their host in the garden and feed on them.
+ Why you need them
  • they can reduce the crop damage by feeding on the eggs nymphs and adults of thrips
  • they are able to actively search for their host, the different species of thrips
  • they can reproduce and continue their life cycle in the garden after first application
  • they are commercially available and easy to release in the greenhouses or fields
+ Why they are safer than traditional pesticides
  • they do not damage plants
  • do not cause any harm to the personnel involved in their production and application
  • food products are safe to handle and eat when they are treated with Orius insidiosus
  • they do not harm humans, animals and pollute the environment
+ Research Papers
  1. Funderburk , J., Stavisky , J. and Olson, S. 2000. Predation of Frankliniella occidentalis (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) in Field Peppers by Orius insidiosus (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae). Environmental Entomology 29:376-382.
  2. Rondon, S.I., Cantliffe, D.J. and James F. Price, J.F. 2004. The feeding behavior of the bigeyed bug, minute pirate bug, and pink spotted lady beetle relative to main strawberry pests. Environmental Entomology 33:1014-1019.

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Predatory minute pirate bug, Orius insidiosus for thrip control

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