There a several insects that can hurt your soybeans yields. But the Minute Pirate bug is one of the good guys, says Jonathan Nixon, South Dakota State University field entomologist, Rapid City.
The Minute Pirate is a predator that is particularly effective against aphids, thrips and spider mites. It feeds on 30 or more aphids, mites or thrips per day. It often is observed leaving partially consumed prey before moving on to the next meal.
The Minute Pirate bug is equipped with piercing-sucking mouthparts which it uses to pierce its prey and remove the internal fluids. These bites are often quite painful and may cause slight irritation if bitten while scouting soybean fields.
Adult females lay up to 150 eggs in their life span (35 days). Eggs are tiny, white, oval-shaped, and hatch in three to five days depending on weather conditions. Newly emerged nymphs are light yellow and move very quickly. Development from egg to adult takes about one month to complete. During a typical season, several generations of pirate bugs can be seen, which increases their effect on pest populations.
There are a few things you can do to sustain Minute Pirate bug populations in soybean fields. The No 1 thing is to reduce insecticide applications by closely following treatment threshold recommends, Nixon says.
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