SERVING FLORIDA SINCE 1990

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THRIPS AND YOUR PLANTS

What are thrips you might be asking. Thrips are small insects about as big as a needle. Worldwide you can find them feeding on plants by sucking the juices out of them. This causes severe damage to the plants and can even transmit viruses to them.

The lifecycle of thrips depends on the species, location and the host plant. Adult thrips live short lives of about a month. Over winter you can find adult thrips in plant debris or bark. They become active in early spring and lay eggs in the plants tissue. These eggs hatch after 3 to 5 days, and the nymphs then feed for 1 to 3 weeks before resting to molt in 1 to 2 weeks. Thrips can have up to 15 generations per year out doors.

Adult thrips are slender and small, at about 1/50 to 1/25 inches long. Their colors can be anywhere from yellow to brown or black. They have narrow, fringed wings. The nymphs look like smaller adults, though they tend to be a light green or yellow instead of darker colors. Nymphs’ wings are not fully developed and they sometimes have red eyes.

Thrips damage includes streaks, silvery speckling and small white patches. This happens because the thrips suck plant cells from many garden plants, flowers, fruit and shaded trees. If you have a major infestation of thrips, your plants might be stunted with damaged flowers and fruits. The damage that you notice might instead come from the virus that the thrips spread.

Thrips feed on vegetation and often enter a structure when residents bring in infested plants by mistake. Since thrips are tiny and hard to spot, they sometimes don’t get noticed until the damage has already been done, and their fecal matter is deposited on the leaves.

These pests sometimes bite humans in search of moisture. Thrip bites only cause minor irritation and do not usually have long term effects. Inside homes, the pests feed on house plants often resulting in complete loss or delayed and reduced growth.

When it comes to pests its always best to consult a professional. If you’re having an issue with thrips, call a Palm Coast Pest Control representative for a free consultation.