Thrips

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Thrips (Thysanoptera), also known as thunderflies, storm flies, corn lice, or thunderbugs, are very small insects, only 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch long. Since they’re so small, it can be hard to know what a thrip looks like. They can be yellow, brown or black with fringed wings. The adults insert eggs into leaf tissue, where the eggs hatch in a few days. The nymphs feed on tissue for four or five days, then pupate in the soil before emerging as adults after two days, where they begin feeding on plant tissues. Read on below the products to learn how to control and get rid of Thrips.

See also: Garden Insect Control

Thrip Damage

When you get your garden looking perfect, it can be very frustrating to have your plants and flowers slowly destroyed. Sometimes it can be hard to discover the cause of the destruction, because the pests are very tiny. Thrips could be the cause of your plants’ leaves, buds, flowers, and fruits becoming stippled, dried out, and damaged.
 
There are many species of thrips that cause problems for gardeners and homeowners across the country. Damage of these pests depends both on the species of thrip and the plant they are feeding on. You may find dried out and stippled leaves that may appear silver-flecked. Infested flower buds may fail to open, flowers may be deformed, and damaged flowers may become streaked and discolored. Thrips can also cause skin irritation if they come in direct contact with skin.

Common Species of Thrips

Populations are at the peak in the spring, and certain species will affect specific plants. Here is a list of common thrips and the plants they affect:
  • Western flower thrips: These thrips attack hundreds of plant species including oaks, roses, citrus, and vegetables.
  • Gladiolus thrips: attack gladiola, iris, carnations, lilies, narcissus, freesia, amaryllis, and many others. 
  • Red-banded thrips: In immature stages, these thrips produce a lot of honeydew which can cause premature defoliation in fruit, shade trees, shrubs, and vinces.
  • Cuban laurel thrips: Mostly attack ficus trees.
  • Greenhouse Thrips: these are the most common pest of greenhouse and nursery grown plants including maple, azalea, citrus, dogwoods, and magnolia.

Thrip Control

How To Get Rid of Thrips

While you may want to look into your species of thrip to make sure you use proper control techniques, you will want to integrate biological, chemical, and cultural control methods regardless of thrip species. Here are some basic steps you can take that will help you with thrips control:
  • Use natural the natural oils of neem and garlic. These oils have insecticidal and repellant properties, and can help repel several types of insect pests.
  • Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs) are good for low-density populations. They work to keep insects from reaching reproductive states, and while they are slower-acting than insecticides, they can be an important part of a pest management strategy.
  • Predatory mites and other insects that feed on thrips can cut down on populations. These include pirate bugs and spiders. 
  • Reducing breeding areas such as excess soil, gravel, and reducing weeds will help reduce populations. 
  • Combining a few of these thrip control methods will help to heal your plants and keep thrip populations to a manageable level.
 

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