Pests in Gardens and Landscapes: Quick Tips
When thrips feed, they distort or scar leaves, flowers, or fruit. Healthy woody plants usually tolerate thrips, although damage can become unattractive. Herbaceous ornamentals and developing fruits and vegetables can suffer more serious injuries. Use an integrated program combining good cultural care, pest exclusion, planting thrips-resistant species, and protecting natural enemies by using least-toxic insecticides.
Thrips are tiny, slender insects with hairs on their wing margins.
Damage often isn‘t apparent until tissue grows and expands. Look for:
Check for thrips before you treat!
Be certain that pest thrips are present and causing damage before taking control action. Harsh weather, inadequate plant care, pathogens, and other invertebrates can cause similar-looking damage. Shake foliage or flowers over white paper to see if this dislodges any thrips. Hang bright yellow sticky traps to detect flying thrips.
Thrips are difficult to control. Combine methods in an IPM program:
Pesticides won’t restore the appearance of injured tissue. Plants remain damaged until injured tissue drops or is pruned off and new growth appears. Thrips are difficult to control with pesticides. Often pesticides won’t be effective unless you wait until the next season and spray new growth.
Horticultural oils, insecticidal soaps, and pyrethrins can provide temporary control, especially for greenhouse thrips. Spinosad may be more effective. Pesticides alone rarely provide good control, so combine spraying with other methods.
Minimize the use of pesticides that pollute our waterways. Use nonchemical alternatives or less toxic pesticide products whenever possible. Read product labels carefully and follow instructions on proper use, storage, and disposal.