Tiny Bugs Biting You?
Have a Thick Skin - They Will Be Gone Soon
Tim Gibb, Insect Diagnostician, Department of
Entomology, Purdue University
‘Big bite for such a little bugger!’ pretty
the Insidious Flower Bug right now in many areas of Indiana.
These bugs became quite a nuisance the last week or
so of September and are continuing into October. We expect
them to continue until we have a cold snap that will knock
Insidious flower bugs are tiny, only about twice
as large as the period at
the end of this sentence. They are broadly oval in shape, and black
whitish or silver markings on the back. Insidious flower bugs can
and are small enough to make their way through window screens,
providing equal irritation to people inside homes as outside.
they bite is still a bit of a mystery. However, we know that they
live up to their name "insidious". They seem to bite
most often when it is
warm and sunny and they usually bite exposed skin that is perspiring
These bugs do not take blood or inject any saliva
- so their bite is not particularly serious to most people. However,
are certainly annoying especially considering the small size of
these bugs. Some people react more to the bite than others
and may experience localized swelling, similar to a mosquito bite.
Others experience the pain but see no reactions at all.
Not much can be done about these nuisance pests.
Insect repellents can be used and will offer some protection
but not complete. Covering bare skin will prevent them
Remember that during the majority of the year, insidious
flower bugs are
beneficial predators because they feed on
small insects and mites or on their eggs (spider mites,
aphids, and thrips are particularly attractive to these bugs).
For that reason, general insecticides should not be used
against these insects.
The bugs probe into leaf tissue to lay eggs and often
go through multiple generations of 3-4 weeks in a season. During
the summer, these bugs stay close to the where their food sources
In years when soybeans experience higher than usual aphid
outbreaks, insidious flower bug populations seem to be high as
well. In the
fall time, the aphids begin to disappear and the insidious flower
dispersing to areas where humans frequent.
If these tiny bugs are bugging you, try avoiding
areas close to soybean
fields, wear repellants, long sleeved shirts and pants and most
have patience and a thick skin. They will be gone soon enough!