Minute Pirate Bug

Orius triscolor

Orius bug photo © by Mike Plagens

Several of these bugs were found on flowers of velvet mesquite, Prosopis velutina at Hassayampa Preserve, Maricopa Co., Arizona. 13 April 2014.

Anthocoridae -- Pirate Bug Family

Native plants when blooming almost always harbor large numbers of thrips - very small insects even smaller than this minute pirate bug. Most thrips are yellowish and might look like pollen grains until they move. Tap a flower - like the inflorescence of desert broom or brittle bush and you're sure to find them. Minute pirate bugs prey especially on thrips and without their assistance gardeners and farmers will be losing a battle with an exploding population of plant feeding thrips. The black and white pattern of these beneficial insects makes them easy to recognize.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 15 Oct. 2015