Pirate bugsÂ are predacious and beneficial (also called minute pirate bugs). Size is approx 4 mm long so they are difficult to see.Â
Adult pirate bug-photo Biocontrol Network (left), Pirate Bug doing his job-Green Coast Hydroponics (right)
They are black/brown coloured and have wings but are not strong enough to fly around. They are usually carried in the wind. Nymphs are yellow to orange and smaller than the adults.
Habitat and Lifecycle
These bugs are found mostly east of the rockies, California, and some mid-eastern provinces in Canada. They lay their eggs on the pollination plants in the flower and stem. Females can lay more than 80 eggs at a time. Eggs are clear to white and very tiny. They hatch in spring and begin feeding in early pollinating plants and insects. Summer is their most resourceful months. They feed on pollen if there are no prey available.
Nymph eating aphid-University of Wisconson
They eat spider mites, tiny caterpillars, whiteflies, aphids, thrips and many eggs of undesired pests.. A very good guy to have in your garden. They’re a great addition to any greenhouse or garden. They can also bite YOU later in the summer months. They just bite apparently and do not draw blood or inject venom.
How to attract them to your garden
Plant many pollinators, caraway, yarrow, cosmos & sunflowers (they attract many good bugs) around your garden. Toss some of your grass & loose mulch around the edges of your garden in the fall. It provides shelter for the bugs to overwinter in. Only do this if you have this bug present in your garden because other pests will also like these conditions. You can also buys these guys commercially. I have seen them advertised with vermiculite, perlite and other organic soil additives.