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NC State Extension

Big-Eyed Bug

  • Common Name: Big-Eyed Bug
  • General Category: Beneficial Predator
  • Taxonomic Classification: Hemiptera: Geocoridae
  • Scientific Name: Geocoris species (several species)

Description

These small (approximately 1/4 inch) generalist predators are common in many different rural and urban landscapes. They prey on a variety of insect eggs, mites, aphids, and other small prey if the opportunity arises. In all stages of life they are active searching predators, but will occasionally feed on plants. Once these bugs have found a meal they insert their needle sharp beak, inject digestive enzymes, then suck up the partially digested insides of their prey. They are not known for biting people though.

Geocoris adult Geocoris nymph

Identification

Review the images for tips on how to identify these predators.

Adults

Small (approximately 1/4 inch); wide head that gives the big-eyed appearance; antennae arising close together in the lower middle of the “face”; lack of triangular plates (“cuneus”) on the front wings (compared to plant bugs); antennae have four segments, compared to five for stink bugs.

Nymphs

Smaller than adults, with the same body shape and features, but without wings, and often a lighter color.

Value in Pest Management

Geocoris predators are found in a variety of agricultural and landscape habitats where they contribute to natural control of a variety of small insects and other arthropods such as mites. They are common in turf grass where they feed on chinch bugs, sod webworms, and other pests. They are available commercially for management of aphids, caterpillars, and mites (see BIRC online Directory).

Origin and Distribution

Native, throughout eastern North America.

Discover Life – Geocoris

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