What Are Thrips?

Thrips is a group of insects found on various plants and is considered an annoying problem by gardeners.

They serve as carriers for plant-specific viruses such as Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus and Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus that can infiltrate your garden and crops, potentially wreaking havoc with them and your garden or crops.


Thrips feed on plant tissues, wreaking havoc on vegetables, fruits, shrubs, flowers and crops. They are an especially common pest in vegetable gardens, fruit trees, shrubs, flowers and crops.

Adult thrips measure between 1/16-1/8 of an inch long, featuring two pairs of strap-like wings which fold back over their bodies when resting. Their larvae, commonly referred to as nymphs, lack wings altogether and appear creamy-yellow to light brown in hue.

They hatch from eggs laid on flowers or leaves and stems. Eggs then develop into nymphs which feed on sap produced by host plants before becoming full-sized adult thrips within 12-15 days.

Many species of Thrips share similar appearance and can easily be confused. Behavior, body size and host plants help differentiate each thrips species; for instance, adult predaceous sixspotted Thrips can be identified by three dark spots on its forewings.

Thrips typically lay their eggs in protected spots such as under the leaves or flower buds, typically several per day throughout their lives.

These nymphs will then develop into adults by pupating on the host plant or soil surface; this process typically takes 12-15 days in warm climates depending on which thrips species is involved.

Thrips species have evolved to survive winter by nesting in decaying plant debris, bark and other materials. By keeping these items out of the garden and away from plants, one can help prevent springtime outbreaks of this pest.

Damage from Thrips vector plant viruses includes symptoms such as streaked, yellowed or bleached leaves and flower petals; deformed buds; deformed fruit; deformed buds and deformed fruit – as well as streaked, yellowed or bleached foliage or petals.

Thrips infestation can hinder the growth of young plant shoots and leaves, negatively affecting production and quality of crop yield. Furthermore, it can change the shape of fruit and berries.

Thrips often hides in small cracks and crevices, making its presence hard to detect. Therefore, it is necessary to inspect each plant individually in order to ascertain if thrips is indeed the source of problems.

Once a thrips infestation is discovered, use pesticides to combat its population. Applying early in its lifecycle may prove particularly effective against this pest, before becoming a more significant issue.


Thrips insects can be found feeding off of many types of crops and flowers, sucking their juices for sustenance while causing significant damage to crops and ornamentals.

There are over 6,000 species of thrips worldwide. While some can be harmful, others can serve a beneficial purpose by eating up pests or fungus that cause other issues.

Adult thrips insects are slim creatures measuring from 1/50 to 1/25 of an inch long with narrow and fringed wings that have yellow, brown or black colors ranging from shades of yellow, brown, or black – usually they will run away or jump if someone touches them.

Their smaller offsprings, known as nymphs, tend to have light green or yellow coloring with incompletely developed wings and red-tinged eyes.

These insects can cause all sorts of plant issues, from stunted growth and malformed buds to deformed fruit or deformity in general. While not known to kill garden or houseplants directly, heavy infestations may reduce yield considerably.

If a thrips infestation becomes severe, beneficial insects such as minute pirate bugs and ladybugs may help combat it. Lacewings may also prove effective; especially in greenhouse environments.

Keep an eye out for signs of thrips in your houseplants by inspecting them regularly for dull, faded or dirty leaves; these could be telltale indicators of an infection caused by this pest.

Thrips can also be easily detected by shaking a leaf over white paper, or by magnifying glass, or both! Tiny specks should fall onto the paper; oval, long, and grain-shaped spots could indicate that it is indeed thrips!

Thrips’ symptoms also include black small spots that represent their excrement. Thrips digests plant tissue and other debris before leaving behind its waste as evidence of infestation.

Thrips insects not only feed on plant tissues, but they also deposit their eggs with an ovipositor device and lay their eggs there, hatching into larvae that secrete chemicals to disrupt nearby cells and disrupt them further.

Eggs laid by most species are usually long, cylindrical or kidney-shaped and laid on or into leaves or other food sources where the insects feed. Some species (like Cuban laurel thrips and myoporum thrips ) produce pale prepupae or pupae that fall to soil or leaf litter for further development.


Thrips infestation can be an ongoing challenge to plants of all varieties. Thrips damage includes leaves, stems, fruit, flowers and bulbs as well as overwintering in plant debris or bark debris.

Treatment programs vary, but the key to an effective program is controlling thrips before they cause any damage. Once established, these insects can be hard to eradicate so combining both natural enemies and chemical pest controls may be effective solutions.

Remove a sick plant and wash down all infected parts, as this helps kill thrips that has already emerged as well as prevent future infestations. Apply an insecticidal soap and systemic insecticide regularly over several weeks to further decrease thrips numbers and protect future outbreaks.

These products go beyond killing thrips; they also help prevent it from flying around and spreading to other plants. Although using these methods will help decrease populations and make your plants healthier, it remains important that they be checked for any new infestations regularly and treated promptly.

Other treatments for thrips infestation include clearing away plant debris and mulching plants with plastic or mesh that reflects light. Such measures make thrips less likely to feed off your plants.

Yellow sticky traps can also be an effective solution to capture adult thrips before they have the opportunity to enter your home or garden, much like those used to catch fungus gnats.

An alternative solution would be isolating your sick plant from other plants and raising humidity levels in your home if possible; doing this will prevent thrips from invading and help the sick plants recover.

To reduce thrips risk in the first place, always inspect newly purchased plants prior to adding them into your garden or landscape. This will allow you to ensure they do not contain any insect pests and diseases such as thrips.


If your houseplant exhibits yellowed leaves with bleached spots or dead blotches on petals and shiny silvery residue on it, chances are it has been infested by thrips insects – tiny insects which feed off plant juices while spreading viruses amongst their fellow plants.

Thrips infestation can be managed effectively through integrated pest management (IPM). This includes tolerating minor plant damage, physical and cultural controls, biologicals that act both preventively and curatively and only using chemicals when necessary.

Start by conducting regular checks of your indoor plants for signs of pest activity and inspect all parts, particularly the undersides, which are often missed.

Whenever you spot thrips infestation on plants, use insecticidal soap as an effective solution that won’t leave behind any residual effects that would attract other bugs. This approach won’t harm other insects either!

Neem oil solutions can also help protect plants against thrips and other pests, as it has natural pesticidal effects which deter them from feeding on your plants.

Neem oil should be applied at least once every week depending on your local climate conditions and manufacturer instructions, in order to provide maximum effectiveness against thrips infections as well as its natural antifungal effect which helps stop the spread of diseases associated with fungus.

To ward off thrips infestation in your garden, it’s wise to conduct regular checks for infested plants. This means inspecting all potted plants, flowers and leaves for signs of pest activity and changing any soil that has become infected with thrips or has been left behind as evidence of their activity.

Keep your garden free from weeds and organic debris to reduce the chances of thrips infestation, as thrips thrives in dark environments with plenty of moist spots that allow it to hide in cracks and crevices in the soil.

An organic weed killer should form part of every gardening plan to provide peace of mind that the garden is safe from potential threats from nature.

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