Pirate Bugs

Bug Index  

Pirate bug


Pirate bugs are so small that they are often called, "Minute Pirate Bugs. They are considered by some people to be beneficial because they are  insect predators who eat other small, pesty bugs. Pirate bugs are very common throughout the United States and North America. They can be found on farms in agricultural crops, living on pasture land, and they can be found in gardens . Pirate bugs eat many different kinds of small insects, including spider mites, insect eggs, aphids, thrips, and small caterpillars. Both adult pirate bugs and nymphs (baby or immature pirate bugs) feed by sucking juices from their prey through a beak that is as sharp as a  needle.

Adult pirate bugs are very small (only 1/8" long). They are oval in shape and they are black with white patches on their wings. Females lay tiny eggs withsite plant tissues where the eggs can not easily be seen. The eggs hatch into nymphs. Nymphs (or very young pirate bugs) are very small, do not have any wings and can vary in color from  yellow to orange to brown in color. Pirate bugs nymphs are shaped like a teardrop and can move very fast. It takes about 20 days for a pirate bug egg to mature into an adult when there is plenty of food for it to eat. That means that several generations of pirate bugs can hatch out in on summer or during a single growing season.

Pirate bug life cycle
      Pirate bug  

Pirate bugs like to eat other small insects. But when they get hungry and can not find other small insects to eat, they feed on pollen and the juices from inside flowering plants. Some people do not consider pirate bugs beneficial because of their habit of feeding on flowers, shrubs, trees and weeds during the spring and summer if there are not other small bugs for them to eat. Gardeners and farmers often find that they need to kill pirate bugs with  insecticides in order to protect their plants. 

Pirate bug 

Pirate bug feeding on aphids