Big-Eyed Bug Beneficial Insect

Big eyed bug

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The big-eyed bug is a beneficial insect. The adult big-eyed bug and the big-eyed larva eat garden pests including aphids, cabbage loopers, caterpillars, chinch bugs, flea beetles, leafhoppers, Mexican bean beetles, spider mites, thrips, whiteflies, and the eggs of aphids, corn earworms, and mites.

Big-eyed bugs are common in Western North America.

Scientific name: Genus Geocoris

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big-eyed bug
Big-eyed bug

How to identify big-eyed bug

The big-eyed bug has a broad head and wide-set bulging eyes. Adult big-eyed bugs are black, grey, or brown and about ⅛ to ¼ inch long. They have clear wings that overlap on their backs. Nymphs are smaller but do not have wings.

Big-eyed bugs have piercing-sucking mouthparts and feed by stabbing their prey and sucking out the internal juices. An adult big-eyed bug can eat as many as 80 spider mites in a day; a larva will eat up to 1600 mites as it matures. Nymphs and adults can survive on nectar and honeydew when prey is scarce.

Big-eyed bug life cycle

Female big-eyed bugs lay two or three eggs each day on stems and leaf undersides beginning in spring. The eggs hatch in about two weeks and begin to feed immediately. Nymphs develop for four to six weeks and then molt into adults. Adults overwinter in garden debris and weedy areas.

How to attract big-eyed bugs to the garden

Attract big-eyed bugs to the garden by planting goldenrod, pigweed, and soybeans. Big-eyed bugs feed on plant sap and nectar in addition to insect pests. A diversity of perennial plants will give them places to shelter and find food.

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Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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