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This study investigated the effect of several substrate types and moisture sources on the developmental and reproductive fitness of the zoophytophagous predator Orius laevigatus (Fieber) (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae) when fed a factitious prey (i.e. unnatural prey) Ephestia kuehniella (Zeller) eggs, or a meridic artificial diet based on hen's egg yolk. O. laevigatus is known to feed on plants as an alternative food source and to oviposit in plants. E. kuehniella eggs were superior to the artificial diet. Supplementary feeding on plant materials did not compensate for the nutritional shortcomings of the artificial diet. Survival rates showed that oviposition substrates such as bean pods or lipophilic surfaces such as wax paper and plastic were more suitable for rearing O. laevigatus than household paper. The use of green bean pods as a plant substrate did not have a beneficial effect on O. laevigatus. The results indicated that O. laevigatus can successfully complete its nymphal development and realize its full reproductive potential in the absence of plant material. However, plant materials would still be required for oviposition, unless a reliable and cost-effective artificial oviposition substrate were made available. The omission of plant materials from the rearing procedures may reduce production cost of this species and other heteropteran predators.