What are Thrips? Thrips are tiny insects about 1/20 of an inch, with over 5,000 species. Some with no wings, the winged species have fringed wings.
Their asymmetrical mouthparts with a mandible a little bit longer than the other. Some species puncture the outer layers of plants using their mouthparts to extract sap. The other species pierce the skin of other insects to extract body fluids.
Thrips Their Behaviors, Habits And Dieting Methods?
Those feeding on plants bring a lot of damage to crops. Once they extract the sap, plants show signs of damage such as black skin and numerous deformities.
Thrips also lay their eggs on crops or fruits causing discolorations to the affected part. They can also mar flowers as well as spread various plant diseases such as wilt virus and necrotic spot virus.
Most consider these pests problematic because their dieting habits destroy numerous commercial crops. The pests usually swarn very fast and reproduce very fast in areas lots of crops. They can also invade homes, especially potted plants.
Keep in mind some thrips species can bite humans. If the pest population isn’t controlled it can affect the reproduction ability of flowering plants.
Controlling Thrips With Natural Solutions
Once these pests attack your crops, the damage can’t go away. However, natural solutions can be applied as control measures to prevent thrips from attacking anything else in the garden.
Removing The Infected Plant
It can take a while to get rid of these tiny pests after they’ve done their plant damage. First, consider removing the infected plant, it’s not going to get better.
On the other hand, you can replace it with another plant not susceptible to thrips. Also, if you’re planning on replanting the same variety of crops, consider springing for a biological control, Hypoaspis Miles a beneficial mite that feeds on fungus gnats, springtails, thrips pupae, and other small insects in the soil. Or Neoseiulus Cucumeris a predatory mite.
Remove Infected Leaves
Once they attack a particular plant, thrips spend some part of their lifecycle in the affected leaves. If you notice any severe damage on your plans, remove the affected leaves to control the population. You can always keep the new leaves from getting hurt since the damaged ones can’t recover.
Usually very active during summer, control an infestation, with a pyrethrum spray extracted from chrysanthemums. Apply the pyrethrum spray once a week for 3 weeks. The first application will kill the adult thrips while the second one will get any recently hatched babies. The last spray application will clean out any leftovers.
Note: The spray will harm other pests in the garden as well, this includes beneficial insects such as the predatory mites. Keep in mind it can also harm you if sprayed in a large quantity. However, the toxicity levels decrease immediately after spraying, allowing the beneficial insects to come back without any effect.
This new spray released into the market comes brewed from soil bacteria in the Caribbean. An extremely useful method of handling thrips, but is also mildly toxic to birds and humans.
Besides being so effective Spinosad spray carries some limitations, as it kills caterpillars after application for about a month. Therefore, if you have plants with butterfly nests, consider using the pyrethrum spray as an alternative to this one.
Always spray pests when they are very active usually summer and coat the whole plant with the spray. Start with the undersides, move to the center of the plant then move outwards to coat the top part of the leaves. Make a point of spraying in the morning or before dusk to allow the spray to dry before the bees become active. Always wear protective gear when handling the spray to prevent any toxicity.
NOTE: Systemic insecticides do not significantly affect thrips in the flowers.
How To Prevent Re- Infestation
If thrips come back after using the organic control methods consider using the following measures. Care for your soil by watering plants regularly and applying mulch. Rake up fallen leaves and remove any litter near the plants. Also, remove damaged leaves from susceptible plants and avoid over-fertilizing your plants.
Greenhouse thrips can attack many plants but primarily enjoys evergreen, broad-leaved perennials. They’re found mainly on the underside of leaves and on fruit clusters or other plant parts that touch each other. Greenhouse thrips are sluggish, and adults tend not to fly.
Individuals feed in groups and populations usually begin in a limited part of the plant and spread slowly. Regularly inspect the underside of leaves on susceptible plants for early detection. Remove new infestations, pruning off colonies can be effective.