Although pirate bugs (Orius) appear to have preferences for particular prey, they are general predators and will consume a variety of pests including mites, thrips, aphids, and small caterpillars.
The pirate bug Orius seems the most voracious beneficial against thrips. It is the only predator that also attacks adult thrips, Often an Orius with thrips stuck on its rostrum can be seen walking on a leaf.
The total gereration time for Orius in greenhouses (70 deg F) is approximately 3 weeks. Eggs are laid in plant tissue (main stem, leaf veins, flowers or petioles) with the top of the egg sticking out of the leaf. The eggs hatch in 4-5 days and grow through 5 stages.
All stages move quickly and adults are good flyers. They will move efficiently throughout the greenhouse to locate pests. Orius kills its prey by piercing them with its mouthparts, and sucking out the body fluids. If prey is abundant, Orius kills more thrips than it needs to survive. The generation time is affected by temperature and food sources. Cooler temperatures slow development, and the presence of pollen appears to have a favorabe effect on its development.
Release 100 to 2,000 Orius per acre. For greenhouse cucumbers, release 1 Orius per 2 plants for the whole greenhouse or 1 to 4 Orius per plant in hot spots, where thrips populations are established. It is recommended to release a minimum of 200 to 500 at one time even for smaller areas.