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How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines

Adult western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis.



Scientific names:
Grape thrips: Drepanothrips reuteri
Western flower thrips: Frankliniella occidentalis and others

(Reviewed 6/06, updated 10/08)

In this Guideline:


Thrips are small insects, 0.04 inch long, with distinctive feathery wings. Color varies from yellow to brown in color. Grape thrips and western flower thrips are the most important species causing damage on grapes. Both species may be found in most grape-growing areas. Grape thrips populations usually reach their greatest numbers in July; this coincides with peak vine growth, and as vine growth slows, the numbers of thrips decreases. Western flower thrips populations peak in May, coinciding with grape bloom and the drying up of winter plant hosts.


Table grapes are susceptible to fruit damage caused by the western flower thrips. They create halo-spotting on the fruit when they oviposit in berries during bloom and up to fruit set or shortly thereafter. Both western flower thrips and grape thrips can scar berries with their feeding, which renders certain white varieties used for table grapes unmarketable. Thrips scarring is primarily a problem on Red Globe, Calmeria, Italia, and occasionally on Thompson Seedless. Fruit feeding discontinues in summer when both species feed on new vegetative growth.

In the North Coast, western flower thrips can feed in emerging shoots in early spring and stunt shoots and cause leaves to cup, especially during cool, rainy springs. Grape thrips may attack shoot tips in late spring or early summer although damage does not become apparent until the population has already decreased. While summer damage of leaves by thrips is common, it is not considered a problem for most varieties. However, a heavy grape thrips population can be a problem in Salvadors.


In general, thrips, are a minor problem on wine and raisin grapes in California with the exception of large populations on emerging shoots in cool-growing regions; however, table grapes are susceptible to thrips damage and may require treatment. For table grapes, make thrips management decisions based on pest population and damage in previous years and varietal susceptibility.

Biological Control
Little is known about natural control of thrips in vineyards but predators such as minute pirate bugs undoubtedly play a role in keeping populations in check.

Cultural Control
Avoid mowing cover crops infested with thrips at budbreak or before bloom because thrips may move to vines and cause shoot stunting.

Organically Acceptable Methods
Biological and cultural controls and sprays of the Entrust formulation of spinosad are acceptable in organically managed vineyards.

Monitoring and Treatment Decisions
On cool days after budbreak monitor for thrips. Open shoots or gently tap buds over white paper to check for thrips.

Table grapes. During the period of rapid shoot growth, inspect flowers or fruit clusters for adults or larvae, as well as the predatory minute pirate bug, by striking clusters three times over a white piece of cardboard. Normal population levels of western flower thrips range from 5 to 25 adults and 10-50 larvae per cluster. High levels exceed 150 adults and 300 larvae per cluster, but damaging population levels for grape thrips in clusters has not been determined. Bloom sprays may be necessary to prevent berry scarring in table grape vineyards.

At harvest look for damage caused by thrips to assess this year's management program and to plan for next year.

Wine grapes. From dormancy through budbreak, monitor for thrips along with other pests in wine/raisin grapes as outlined in DORMANT/DELAYED DORMANT AND BUDBREAK MONITORING. Inspect new shoots in spring, especially in cool regions, for shoot scarring and distorted leaves. In these areas treatment may be necessary if damage increases and cool temperatures persist. Record observations on a monitoring form (example form81 KB, PDF).

Common name Amount/Acre** R.E.I.+ P.H.I.+
(trade name)   (hours) (days)

  Calculate impact of pesticide on air quality
The following materials are listed in order of usefulness in an IPM program, taking into account efficacy and impact on natural enemies and honey bees. When choosing a pesticide, also consider information relating to environmental impact. Not all registered pesticides are listed. Always read label of product being used.
  (Entrust)# 1.25–2.5 oz 4 7
  (Success) 4–8 4 7
  COMMENTS: Apply when eggs first hatch to target the young larvae. Heavy infestations require a second application in 4 or 5 days.
  (Provado Solupak) 75WP 0.75–1 oz 12 0
  COMMENTS: Foliar application: allow at least 14 days between applications. Do not exceed 0.5 lb a.i. of imidacloprid/acre/year.
C. DIMETHOATE 25WP 6–8 lb 2 days 28
  COMMENTS: Lower than label rates can be used in early season when vine canopy is not dense. To avoid visible deposit on berries, do not apply after berries reach 0.25 inch diameter. Moderately disruptive to beneficials. Resistance may be a problem in some populations.
  (Lannate) LV 0.75–1.5 qt 7 days Raisin/Table: 1
  (Lannate) 90SP 0.5–1 lb 7 days Wine: 14
  COMMENTS: Do not feed treated grapes to livestock. Disruptive to predators of mites and parasites of leafhoppers. Short lived, may not provide long enough control.
  (JMS Organic Stylet Oil) 1–2 gal 4 0
  MODE OF ACTION: Contact including smothering and barrier effects.
  COMMENTS: Apply early in the season (from 1-inch shoot length until set) for thrips control. Will help prevent shoot damage in early spring but not effective for berry scarring. Commonly used when shoot growth is slowed by cool, spring temperatures. (Also controls mites and serves as a contact treatment for powdery mildew in spring.) Using ground equipment, spray for optimum coverage of leaf surfaces. Repeat sprays every 1–14 days. Late season applications may leave a residue on post-veraison berries. Do not apply with copper when fruit is present; do not apply within 10 days of sulfur. Read label carefully for other use restrictions.
** Apply with enough water to provide complete coverage.
+ Restricted entry interval (R.E.I.) is the number of hours (unless otherwise noted) from treatment until the treated area can be safely entered without protective clothing. Preharvest interval (P.H.I.) is the number of days from treatment to harvest. In some cases the REI exceeds the PHI. The longer of two intervals is the minimum time that must elapse before harvest.
* Permit required from county agricultural commissioner for purchase or use.
# Acceptable for use on organically grown produce.
1 Rotate chemicals with a different mode-of-action Group number, and do not use products with the same mode-of-action Group number more than twice per season to help prevent the development of resistance. For example, the organophosphates have a Group number of 1B; chemicals with a 1B Group number should be alternated with chemicals that have a Group number other than 1B. Mode of action Group numbers are assigned by IRAC (Insecticide Resistance Action Committee). For additional information, see their Web site at http://www.irac-online.org/.




[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Grape
UC ANR Publication 3448
Insects and Mites
W. J. Bentley, UC IPM Program, Kearney Agricultural Research Center, Parlier
L. G. Varela, UC IPM Program, Sonoma County
F. G. Zalom, Entomology, UC Davis
R. J. Smith, UC Cooperative Extension, Sonoma County
A. H. Purcell, Environmental Science, Policy and Management, UC Berkeley
P. A. Phillips, UC IPM Program, Ventura County
D. R. Haviland, UC IPM Program, Kern County
K. M. Daane, Kearney Agricultural Research Center, Parlier
M. C. Battany, UC Cooperative Extension, San Luis Obispo County
Acknowledgment for contributions to Insects and Mites:
J. Granett, Entomology, UC Davis

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