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Orius insidiosus

Predator of Thrips

Orius insidiosus is an excellent predator of thrips. Orius, also called the minute flower bug or minute pirate bug, is a true bug with a long mobile rostrum (feeding tube) that can fold under its body. Females are about 3 mm long (1/9 inch), while males are slightly smaller. Female Orius lay 1-3 eggs per day embedded in plant tissues (petioles, stalk parts or veins on the leaf underside); eggs are colourless to white. An Orius nymph emerges after about five days. A newly emerged nymph is at first colourless, but turns yellow after a few hours. Through the five nymphal stages, it progressively becomes yellowish-orange, then brown and gradually looks more like an adult. All nymphal stages of Orius have red eyes. Wing pads start to develop at the 2nd stage but are clearly visible at the 5th stage only. Adults are brown to black with white patches on the wings. Total development time (egg to adult) is about three weeks. Adult Orius, which live for 3-4 weeks, eat all thrips stages, while younger Orius nymphs only eat thrips larvae. They find their prey by touch, grab it with their front legs, insert their rostrum and drain their prey of its body fluids. Orius can also feed on other prey such as aphids, mites or moth eggs. They sometimes kill more insects than strictly necessary for their own feeding. Orius also eat pollen, which enables them to live in pollen bearing crops without the presence of thrips. Orius can enter into diapause when there are no thrips to feed on, daylength is shorter than 12 hours and temperature is below 15°C (59°F).

Advantages:

  • Also kills adult thrips.
  • Applicable in a wide range of crops.
  • Can be introduced preventatively in pollen bearing crops.
  • Can be introduced curatively in hot spots.
  • Often kills more thrips than needed for own feeding.
  • Also attacks other pest insects.
  • Can be combined with other thrips predators.