Flower Bug, the larger
cousin of the Pirate Bug
Courtesy of iastate.edu
Oh, the irony!
The Peoria Journal Star is reporting that attendees of the recent Illinois Natural History Survey’s annual Insect Expo were bitten by the minute pirate bug. Joseph Spencer, an insect behaviorist, told the Journal star, “It almost felt like we were being bit by invisible bugs.”
According to the Iowa State University Department of Entomology, are the “rare cousins” of flower bugs and appear in late summer. Reactions vary with pirate bug bites resulting in swelling similar to mosquito bites, redness, no reaction.
The Journal Star says the bugs are commonly confused with buffalo gnats, a.k.a. black flies but don’t bring any disease and are not blood suckers. It is believed that the pirate bugs in the Illinois area feed on insect eggs and mites, consuming corn ear worm eggs.
But, it’s not all bad news in regards to the pirate bug. They actually provide a benefit to humans by controlling ear worm populations around corn crops according to the article. And as long as the pirate bug is well-fed, humans don’t have to worry about being their next meal.September 30, 2008 – 7:14 pm