What are Thrips?
There are 7,400 species of thrips in the world and quite a few are serious pests. Some of the more commonly
known thrips are greenhouse thrips, Western flower thrips and plague thrips. Thrips are 0.5mm – 1.5 mm long and range in
colour from white to yellow to black. They can only be seen with magnification. Thrips attack the flowers, fruit and foliage
of a variety of plants. Roses, fruit trees, azaleas, gladioli and a variety of vegetables such as tomatoes, onions and beans
all suffer from thrips attacks. Thrips lay eggs inside plant tissue and the pupae feed on plant juices. Thrips also lay eggs in
unopened buds making it difficult to control the insect. Thrips also spread plant viruses; for example tomato thrips and
western flower thrips spread the tomato spotted wilt virus.
What are the symptoms?
Thrips scrape the surface of the leaves and petals, and suck the sap, leaving a white mottled appearance on leaves.
Other symptoms are browning on petals and fruit, and flower drop. If left unchecked the leaves, new shoots and
flowers will become deformed and stunted. Wilting and browning can also occur.