Kill Thrips Insects

Kill thrips in the garden using natural insecticides. Prevent thrips damage from marring the flowers of your plants and fruit trees. Thrip control products, picture, and information.

What is a Thrip?

Thrips are tiny flying insect pests that damage the flowers, stems and foliage of a wide variety of garden plants by sucking at them.

There are many kinds of thrips:

  1. The avacado thrip, Scirtothrips perseae scars the rind of the fruit giving it a corky appearance.
  2. Western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis is the type most often seen in greenhouses and are also called strawberry thrips.
  3. Onion thrips, Thrips tabaci damage vegetable crops all over the globe.
  4. Thrips palmi are often called melon thrips. It is native to the tropics but has spread to subtropical regions.
  5. Citrus thrips, Scirtothrips citri, feeds on the skin of citrus fruit. This scars the rind but leaves the pulp unaffected and perfectly edible.
  6. Pear thrips, Taeniothrips inconsequens, are native to Europe. They were imported into California in the early 1900s and are now found marring the leaves of maple, birch, and beech trees throughout the U.S.

What do Thrips Look Like?

Painting of Gladiolus Thrips and Damaged and Undamaged Flowers

Thrips have slim bodies about 1/20th of an inch long. They are brown, yellow or orange in color. The adults have fringed wings.

The thrips drawing above shows what they look like under a microscope.

To the naked eye, they look like tiny colored dashes running around your flowers.

If you suspect thrip damage, pluck a bloom and pull the petals apart. Thrips are very mobile and tend to hide in the folds between the flower petals.

How do Thrips Travel?

They can fly from plant to plant. They also let wind currents carry them from place to place. Once they land on a plant they like, they crawl all over it.

Photos of Thrips Damage

Thrips damage on a Cinderella rose flower.

Misshapen flowers that fail to open fully or even to open at all and silvery, mottled leaves are the visible signs of thrip damage.

Photo credit: Photobucket

Thrip Control

Thrip larvae need warmth. The pests breed rapidly and their numbers can become impressive quite quickly under favorable environmental conditions.

They proliferate in greenhouses and warm climates. If you live in the temperate zone, thrips pests will most likely only appear during the hottest months of summer.

Thrips the insect is not hard to kill. Just about any systemic insecticide will do them in.

The important thing is to use a product that is appropriate for the type of plant you are treating.

You may not care how toxic the pesticide is if you are treating an ornamental plant but you will want to use organic thrip control products to kill thrips on edible crops.

Pesticide for Thrips palmi

Thrips Predator Mites: Amblyseius cucumeris, Pack of 5,000: NC

Thrips Predator Mites: Amblyseius cucumeris, Pack of 5,000: NC

Melon thrips are notoriously resistant to pesticides. Natural predators are a better option for Thrips palmi control on cucurbits, peppers and eggplant crops.

Thrips Predator Mites, Amblyseius cucumeris, will control several common thrips pests.

Kill Thrips Organically

Spinosa is the active ingredient in this pesticide. It is a naturally occurring bacteria (like BT) which has been approved for use on organic crops.

It is safe to use for controlling thrips, leafminers, and armyworms on fruits, vegetables, roses and other flowering plants.

Comes in a ready-to-spray bottle. No need to mix anything.

This is a more economical horticultural oil for larger gardens. In addition to controlling thrips, Summit Year Round Spray Oil will kill aphids, whitefly, gnats, scale and mealybugs. Because it works by smothering the insects instead of poisoning them, it is safe to use around children and pets.

Related Pages:

Beneficial Nematodes
What are beneficial nematodes? Advantages of biological pest control. Using beneficial bugs for the natural garden. Good bug vs bad bug.

You can use the nematode products on the linked page to kill thrips but they will not be as effective, when used alone, as the products on this page.

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