Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Hemimetabola, Hemiptera, Heteroptera, Anthocoridae.

Common name: Minute pirate bugs

Geographical distribution: World-wide.

Morphology: The body of the females is 1.5-2.5 mm long, brown-grey, the forewings are hemelytra. The nymphs are initially colorless, their bodies darkening to yellow-brown as they grow.

Prey: Orius species attack small, soft-bodied insects, especially thrips, whiteflies and aphids; they also feed on the eggs of some moths and on small mites.

Life history: Species of Orius prefer to deposit their eggs in plant parts, especially the flowers, on whose pollen they feed. They are mostly predators that also subsist on various flower parts and sap. For mass-rearing they can be bred in large numbers on eggs of the moth Ephestia kuehniella Zeller or on beef liver. Orius spp. can raise a generation in 2-3 weeks at 25°C and the adults live for 3-4 weeks. When offered thrips, moth eggs or the parasitized and paralyzed larvae of moths, a female may produce about 200 eggs in the laboratory.

Economic importance: Several species of Orius are biological control agents of several major pests, one of their major targets is often the western flower thrips, especially in greenhouses. Some species of Orius species are in commerce. For instance, Orius laevigatus (Fieber) is sold by several companies world-wide, such as BioBee in Israel (advertised as Bio®Orius), by Kopppert in the Netherlands (advertised as THRIPOR-L), and by Biotech Systems in Russia.

The better known species in the Middle East region are Orius insidiosus (Say), Orius albidipennis (Reuter) and Orius laevigatus. Several other species are known and have been suggested and tried as natural enemies of various pests.

Effect of pesticides: Various insecticides, such as organophosphates, pyrethroids, insect growth regulators, neem and imidacloprid are very toxic to Orius laevigatus, as are entomopathogenic nematodes.


Angeli, G., Baldessari, M., Maines, R. and Duso, C. 2005. Side-effects of pesticides on the predatory bug Orius laevigatus (Heteroptera: Anthocoridae) in the laboratory. Biocontrol Science and Technology 15: 745-754.

Arijs, Y and De Clercq, P. 2004. Liver-based artificial diets for the production of Orius laevigatus. BioControl 49: 505-516.

Atakan, E., 2010. Influence of weedy field margins on abundance patterns of the predatory bugs Orius spp. and their prey, the western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis) on faba bean. Phytoparasitica 38: 313-325.

Consignore, C. and Vacante, V. 2012. Influences of botanical pesticides and biological agents on Orius laevigatus - Frankliniella occidentalis dynamics under greenhouse conditions. Journal of Plant Protection Research 52: 15–23.

Chyzik, R., Klein, M. and Ben-Dov, Y. 1995. Reproduction and survival of the predatory bug Orius albidipennis on various arthropod prey. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 75: 27–31.

Hernandez, L.M. 1999. A review of the economically important species of the genus Orius (Heteroptera: Anthocoridae) in East Africa. Journal of Natural History 33: 543-568.

Kerçeci, M. and Gürkan, M. 2013. Biological control of western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis with Orius species in eggplant greenhouses in Turkey. Turkish Journal of Entomology 37: 467-476.

Tabic, A., Yonah, R. and Coll, M. 2010. Association between omnivorous Orius bugs and their thrips prey at different spatial scales of Verbesina encelioides flowers. Israel Journal of Plant Sciences 58: 131–141.

Weintraub, P.G., Pivonia, S. and Steinberg, S. 2011 How many Orius laevigatus are needed for effective western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis, management in sweet pepper? Crop Protection 30: 1443-1448.

Zaki, F.N. 1989. Rearing of two predators, Orius albidepennis (Reut.) and Orius laevigatus (Fieber) (Hem., Anthocaridae) on some insect larvae. Journal of Applied Entomology 107: 107-109.