Today we’re talking about thrips and will be answering these questions and more. What are thrips? How do you get rid of thrips without using harmful chemicals in your garden? Do thrips bite? Do you find thrips on roses? What do thrips larvae look like?
Do you see tiny insects that look like worms with legs in your garden that are sucking the life out of your plants? Then you might be dealing with an invasion of thrips.
Today, we’ll be talking about how you can identify these pests and manage their population in the garden without chemicals. Let’s get started!
What Are Thrips?
Thrips are tiny slender insects that can cause serious damage to any garden. Adult thrips are slender and minuscule ranging from 1/50 to 1/25 inches long.
They can be yellow, brown, or black. These insects have narrow, fringed wings that make them poor flyers.
These insects can appear as tiny dark slivers on plants and it can be tricky to spot them unless you use a magnifying glass.
These pests feed n plants by puncturing plant parts and sucking the juices out of leaves and stems. There are bout 6000 species of thrips and most of these are pests of commercially important crops.
They feed on developing flowers or vegetables, causing discoloration, deformities, and reduced marketability of the crop.
Also, some species act as carriers of over 20 viruses that cause plant diseases. In greenhouses, many thrips species can thrive and increase in population exponentially.
They can also invade houses and infest objects such as furniture and bedding. ugh….
What is the Life Cycle of Thrips?
Adult and pupae tend to overwinter in garden soil. Once spring comes along, females emerge and insert eggs into the tissues of flowers, leaves, or stems.
One crucial thing about thrips is they do not need to mate in order to reproduce. Each female can lay up to 80 eggs that hatch within days in warm weather or weeks to months in cold weather.
Once hatched, they become wingless thrips larvae or nymphs and start feeding on plant sap. They then drop to the soil and turn to pupae. Once this stage is over, the emerging adults fly to a plant and repeat the cycle.
What Does Thrips Damage Look Like?
Thrips may be small in size but the damage they can cause to your plants can serious. They feed on plant juices and sap by biting their way into plant stems or by using their syringe-like mouths to extract liquid from leaves.
Herbaceous ornamentals and certain vegetable crops are more susceptible to serious injury caused by thrips. These insects can distort the growth of plants and cause damaged leaves to become paper-like and distorted.
Stippling can also appear on leaves and they can fall off prematurely. Flower petals affected by thrips can exhibit color breaks and dark streaks caused by feeding injury.
Thrips can cause cosmetic damage to fruits. In avocadoes and citrus fruits, thrips can cause brown to silvery scabs. On apples, nectarines, and raspberries, they can deform and/or scar developing fruits.
How to Get Rid of Thrips in the Garden
Dealing with thrips in the garden involves proper maintenance and vigilance for spotting and responding to problems. Your primary goal is to reduce places where they may breed.
You should also regularly check your plants for signs of damage and for clusters of pests where leaves are attached to stems. Specifically, you need to do the following to get rid of thrips:
- Remove weeds and grass from around the garden to get rid of alternate hosts. Crop debris should also be cleared right away.
- Before importing new plants into your garden, look for signs of thrips or their damage. Discard plants that are likely infected into trash bags and secure them tightly.
- Place blue sticky traps to monitor adult thrips.
- Hose off plants that have clusters of thrips.
- Release beneficial insects such as minute pirate bugs, ladybugs, and lacewings. For best results, make releases after first knocking down severe infestations with water spray.
More questions & Answers About Thrips
Do thrips bite? Some species can, the bites can irritate the skin by causing rashes or even welts. They don’t seem to be able to carry any diseases to humans through bites, though.
Do you find thrips on roses? Yes, they get between the petals of the buds and their damage include ugly blooms. They can also affect the leaves making them look damaged.
What do thrips larvae look like? The larvae or nymphs are thin and long in shape without any wings. They can be clear, dark brown or black, or yellow and white. Some other species can be brighter colors, too.
As you can see thrips can cause major damage to your garden, so it’s definitely something to keep an eye on. I hope that the remedies supplied here will help you contend with these pests if you run up against them in your garden.
Have you ever had any issues with thrips? Share what happened and how you combated them in the comments below.
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