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The Anthocoridae are a family of bug
Hemiptera is an order of insects most often known as the true bugs , comprising around 50,000–80,000 species of cicadas, aphids, planthoppers, leafhoppers, shield bugs, and others...

s, commonly called minute pirate bugs or flower bugs.


The vernacular
A vernacular is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is not native to the population, such as a national language or lingua franca.- Etymology :The term is not a recent one...

 name probably stems from the notion that these very small animals can do much pain to humans, just like small pirate vessels can do so to big ships.
The scientific name is a combination of the Greek words anthos "flower" and koris "bug".


Pirate bugs are only 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 mite
Spider mite
Spider mites are members of the Acari family Tetranychidae, which includes about 1,200 species. They generally live on the under sides of leaves of plants, where they may spin protective silk webs, and they can cause damage by puncturing the plant cells to feed...

s 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
Orius insidiosus
Orius insidiosus, common name the insidious flower bug, is a species of minute pirate bug, a predatory insect in the order Hemiptera . They are considered beneficial, as they feed on small pest arthropods and their eggs...

, the "insidious flower bug", for example, feeds on the eggs of the corn earworm
Helicoverpa zea
The larva of the moth Helicoverpa zea is a major agricultural pest. It can feed on many different plants during the larval stage. Accordingly, the species has been given many different common names. When the larva consumes cotton, it is known as the cotton bollworm...

 (Helicoverpa zea).
Especially O. insidiosus is often released in greenhouses against mites and thrips
Thrips are tiny, slender insects with fringed wings . Other common names for thrips include thunderflies, thunderbugs, storm flies, thunderblights, and corn lice...


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:
  • Acompocoris
  • Alofa
  • Amphiareus
  • Anthocoris
  • Calliodis
  • Cardiastethus
  • Coccivora
  • Dufouriellus
  • Elatophilus
  • Lasiochilus
  • Lyctocoris
  • Macrothacheliella
  • Melanocoris
  • Nidicola
  • Orius
    The genus Orius consists of omnivorous bugs in the family Anthocoridae . Adults are 2–5 mm long and feed mostly on spider mites, thrips, and their eggs, but will also feed on pollen and vascular sap .These predators are common in gardens and landscapes...

  • Paratriphleps
  • Pehuencoris
  • Physopleurella
  • Plochiocoris
  • Scoloposcelis
  • Solenonotus
  • Temnostethus
  • Tetraphleps
  • Xylocoris

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