The closest to Normal (Illinois) that I've ever been.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Aaaargh! Minute Pirate bugs

For the last two weeks, every time I go outside, dozens of the these tiny black bugs start biting the hell out of me. They are incredibly tiny (1-2mm) but they pack a huge walloping bite. Surprisingly, the bite doesn't swell afterwards. Also, the bug never flies away after biting, so they usually get smashed and don't really benefit from biting me.

(Photo by Alex Wild 2004)

As an amateur entomologist with good vision, I can clearly see that they are hemipteran. However, it has taken me the better part of an evening to figure out what they are: Minute Pirate bugs. They don't appear in indexes of biting insects because they feed on plants. However, this year they are just so desperate for food that they will apparently bite anything.
So beware of pirates!

(Photo by UMN Entomology)

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