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Minute pirate bugs
Orius insidiosus from USDA 2.jpg
Orius insidiosus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Suborder: Heteroptera
Infraorder: Cimicomorpha
Family: Anthocoridae

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The Anthocoridae are a family of bugs, commonly called minute pirate bugs or flower bugs.


The vernacular name probably stems from the notion that these very small animals can inflict a surprising amount of pain on humans, just like small pirate vessels can on big ships.[citation needed] The scientific name is a combination of the Greek words anthos "flower" and koris "bug".


Pirate bugs are about 1.5 mm to 5 mm long. Their body is oval to triangular and somewhat flattened, sometimes with a black and white patterned back.


Pirate bugs feed on other small insects, spider mites and insect eggs. They cut a hole into their prey, pump saliva into it and drink the contents. This makes them beneficial as biological control agents. Orius insidiosus, the "insidious flower bug", for example, feeds on the eggs of the corn earworm (Helicoverpa zea). Especially O. insidiosus is often released in greenhouses against mites and thrips.

These small insects can bite humans, with surprising pain for such a small insect. However, they do not feed on human blood or inject venom or saliva. In some people the bite swells up, in others there is no reaction.


The following genera belong to this family:

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