What are Thrips?

The most serious type of Thrips is the Western Flower Thrips, which can be orange, yellow and brown. Thrips can be called Thunder Bugs or by the name of the plant i.e. Gladioli Thrips.  They have two sets of wings but they are folded against their body so cannot normally be seen.  The insects are generally hidden inside flowers, but can be seen by shaking a flower onto an open hand (easier with a hand lens).

Thrips
Thrips attack a wide range of plants throughout the year (depending on your growing conditions) including Chilli, Primrose, Camelias, Azaleas, Peas, Privet, Ferns and Roses.

 

What does thrips damage look like?  The symptoms

Thrips damageThrips damage

Thrips are best spotted by looking for plant damage as the pest itself is very small and difficult to spot. They feed on the plant's sap, causing the flowers, fruit and foliage to be deformed, weakening the plant and eventually killing it.

You will see the leaf surface turning a silver colour spotted with black spots indicating cell death.  Flowers may seem deformed with brown petals that may have ragged edges.

If they attack young emerging shoots then leaves may be crooked and misshapen.  Unfortunately Thrips are also known to spread diseases.

Thrips damage 

How do you stop Thrips?

In the early summer /in warm light conditions it is a good idea to inspect vulnerable plants every week and deal with the first signs of mite infestation immediately. Where possible, remove infested leaves, buds and stems because this will initially reduce numbers.
Thrips are very difficult to reach with chemical sprays; but predatory mites are small enough to find and eat them, making biological control the best answer to this problem.

 

Thrips Treatments

Amblyseius predatory mites (Amblyseius cucumeris) are small enough to find and eat thrips. 

We supply sachets that you can hang on the branches of affected plants or prop against the stem.  The mites crawl out of a hole on the back of the sachet and around the leaves and within the flower buds looking for the Thrips larvae.  As it's the smallest/youngest larvae they eat we recommend repeat applications to keep the pest under control.

Working best in temperatures between 10°C – 27°C, the sachets contain grain mites which give the predators a source of food to stop them all emerging at once.  Mites continue to emerge from sachets over several weeks and in much higher numbers than with a single broadcast release.

For more serious infestations we also sell tubes of 25,000 mites, an immediate and high dose of predatory mites. Good for quickly establishing a population of mites and providing an immediate defense for your plants.

Amblyseius mites can also feed on pollen which allows for effective, long term control.

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