- THRIP BIOLOGY
- THRIP PLANT DAMAGE
- THRIPS BITE PEOPLE
- ORGANIC THRIP CONTROL
- STRONGEST THRIP SPRAY
- THRIP SPRAY FOR INSIDE THE HOME
- THRIP TREATMENTS FOR MARIJUANA PLANTS
- CONTACT US
Thrips are tiny insects which have piercing mouth parts that can do damage to most any plant. If given the chance, they will take advantage of garden species as well as common landscape vegetation spreading disease and causing damage. Since they will readily live on just about any type of plant, it is important to control outbreaks when first identified to help keep damage and populations in check. A few thrips can easily go unnoticed; a large infestation can decide the local plants are not enough to eat and once they start stinging people and pets, you will surely know they are present.
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Thrips are small insects, measuring about 1/25 to 1/8 of an inch long. They range in color from clear to white to yellow to brown to black. It is generally believed that local populations will take on a color similar to that of the plant they are mostly feeding upon. Although there are thrips with names like Tobacco thrips or Flower thrips, it is evident they are not specie specific and that they can live on just about any type of plant which is able to provide them with a source of sap, juice and water.
Thrips may or may not have wings but most stages do and these are clear and feather like. Thrips are mobile and will crawl, jump, walk and fly to any target they focus upon. Their light bodies and wing structure enable them to ride wind currents great distances allowing them to find new food and nest locations as needed. Though plants are generally where they want to be nesting, water and high moisture seem to be more important.
It is not uncommon for local activity to be centered around some area in the landscape that is holding water. This may serve as a prime reproductive ground area for them to go through their pupal stage and to provide protection during times of drought or plant dormancy. This is more typical in the northern regions since in the southern growing zones thrips will remain active year round.
THRIP LIFE CYCLE
- The life cycle of a thrip is unique and fast. Eggs are laid on plant tissue and hatching young will immediately begin to feed on any part of the plant which presents sap and vital fluids containing nutrition.
- After a week or so, these larva will have passed through two stages having eaten all the time.
- Once the third stage begins eating will stop and at this stage some may even develop wings, fly off or simply crawl down into leaf litter and mulch to pupate. It is probably the hatching of the pupa which are most responsible for the cases involving biting thrips.
- The fourth stage, the pupa, is where they turn into fully mature adults ready to mate and reproduce. Females have the unique ability to lay eggs which will prosper whether they mated with a male or not. In general, eggs produced from fertile females will yield offspring of either sex; eggs generated by females which could not find males will produce nothing but males. This biased result insures the local population gets a good balance for the future since thrips develop so quickly.
This whole process from egg to adult can happen in as little as two weeks depending on the species and the local environment. For this reason it is important to realize just how quickly a few can turn into a few thousand and further explains why it is all important to head off these developing colonies and populations when first found.
THRIP PLANT DAMAGE
Though the rapid development of thrips by itself may not seem like reason to stop this small, innocent insect from having it’s time in the sun, the damage and discomfort it will cause is more than enough. Here are some of the common problems associated with having thrips active and living on plants in or around the home.
- The sucking and piercing mouth parts of thrips are enough to cause substantial to any plant. Though young plants are more vulnerable, older more established vegetation can be seriously damaged as well when a large enough population is feeding on vital sap – the life’s blood of any plant – during the dry and stressful hot season.
- Leaves of vegetation will turn brown and curl causing them to loose their ability to provide shelter and perform life sustaining photo synthesis. Defoliation can occur as well which can mean the certain death for some plants.
- The biting and sucking of thrips is responsible for the transmission of plant disease including many types of fungus and virus.
- Thrips will readily sting people and pets. Though not generally identified as a biting pest, thrips are readily attracted to people. This is thought to happen because people perspire. This moisture will readily attract thrips seeking a drink during hot dry spells. However, they will readily land on people once populations get large and begin foraging and migrating. As host plants get filled with thrips and sap begins to dry and deplete, thrips will begin to move away by flying, jumping and crawling.
THRIPS BITE PEOPLE
During such times people in close proximity will become targets as hungry thrips turn to anything in their way which can provide some nutrition. Such stings can hurt and cause rashes. It is also believed the fourth stage of thrips, the pupa, will readily target people as they hatch. This is very common in landscape which has high moisture. Well irrigated lawns, flower beds and gardens are prime targets for pupating thrips and when they hatch, they are hungry.
If people are present, they will become targets. Since thrips are small, it is not uncommon for them to go unseen and many times misidentified as either a No-seeum, a mosquito or some type of biting fly. The fast flying Thrip is the common culprit and since they can pass through just about any window screen, they will readily find their way into homes. Once in the home, people and pets will become targets for food; potted plants will become the prime location for egg laying and reproduction.
If you’ve been targeted by thrips and find their bites to be itchy, BITE SWABS can be applied to the skin for itch relief. But for rapid healing of old wounds, GENES SOOTHING CREAM can really help. Made with all natural ingredients, Gene’s cream will promote rapid skin repair from all kinds of insect bites.
THRIP REPELLENT FOR PEOPLE
In fact, people who bring inside plants outside during spring and summer months commonly find thrips nesting and active when these same plants are brought back inside. These potted plants have water collectors which thrips will regularly target. Once in the home, they can become a constant pest since the temperatures in most homes will allow them to remain active all year. This is more common in homes with more vegetation though it only takes one plant to create the problem. And though you can use some repellent like DEET or even the insect repelling BUG BANDS, if you don’t treat their nest locations you will have a seemingly never ending supply of this biting nuisance.
THRIP REPELLENT FOR PLANTS
If your plants are prone to getting infested every summer, it’s a good idea to treat them beforehand with some PEST RID. This organic spray is made with plant oil and food grade actives which act as a repellent for certain insects including thrips. It’s safe to spray on plants like roses, privets, azalea’s and anything thrips like to infest. By using Pest Rid on plants before you get infested, you can keep thrips off and away. Retreat every month throughout the growing season for a thrip free summer but remember, Pest Rid will not kill insects and only repels them so once you get infested, you’ll need to use one of the organic or traditional sprays listed below.
ORGANIC THRIP CONTROL
Thrips can be such a nuisance its best to make sure populations never get established. This sounds easy but because they develop so fast, plants can quickly get infested. Fortunately there are many options available which can you can employ to either prevent or control local activity.
THRIP GLUE TRAPS
If you suspect thrips could be a problem in your garden or home and would like something to help reveal just how extensive their population might be, install some THRIP TRAPS or YELLOW GLUE TRAPS. These glue traps will catch a wide range of garden pests like aphids, scale, fungus gnats, white flies and thrips. The Thrip Traps are ideal for inside gardens and potted plants but can be used outside. The Yellow Hanging Traps are designed for large, outside plants.
These traps will catch any garden pest so use them as a way to monitor what’s coming around and potentially infesting your garden. Keep in mind that even though these traps will catch and kill a lot of pests, they should not be used as the sole method of pest eradication. Glue traps at best will only alert you to the presence of pests and cannot control an ongoing infestation. Nor can they protect plants from future problems. So if you install some and start finding unwanted pets like thrips are clearly flying around and either biting your plants or someone they’re attracted to, it’s time to start treating with one of the following products.
ORGANIC THRIP SPRAY
If you have sensitive vegetables, roses or any type of plant which you feel will become a target of thrips, consider pre-treating it with ORGANIC FLYING INSECT KILLER. This is a ready to use formulation and won’t be a hazard to the plants or people eating the harvest. You can use this product on fruit, vegetables, any type of vegetation, tree or shrub and it won’t hurt foliage or impact growth. Though applications only last a few days, it will kill thrips and other pests before they get established. This early prevention will no doubt help prevent any unwanted damage or loss. Great for sensitive young plants and valuable crops which are small and in need of preventive treatments. Start using it early in the spring to prevent thrips from ever getting established.
Organic Flying Insect Killer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/organic/aerosol/flying-insect-killer-14-oz
If the area you need to treat isn’t a fruit or vegetable plant, apply something a little stronger but still organic. MULTIPURPOSE INSECT KILLER would be a good option. Treatments last at least a week or so, and it’s water based so it won’t harm treated plants. Just spray it out over the brush, shrubs or anywhere the thrips are active – even in the home! It has a slight odor which will disappear in a short while but it’s very effective on nuisance thrips. This is also a handy option to keep around for use in gardens. Apply some just prior to going outside and working. It will knock down active adults so you can go about your work without being attacked. Keep it by your side to use as needed; it will also keep away gnats, wasps and other flying pests.
Organic Insect Killer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/organic/liquid/multi-purpose-insect-killer-24-oz
Once thrips are found to be active, you have varying levels of treatments that can be done depending on both the type of plant being treated and the strength of the pesticide you are comfortable using. The author will now list treatments and product options from the most gentle to the most extreme. Although all will offer control, the big difference between these options will be the length of time they last once applied. Typically the “safer” a product is regarded means the shorter residual it will provide. Clearly the longer any one product will last the general feeling is that it must somehow be stronger or have some characteristics which make it more toxic. Though this is rarely the case it continues to be the most common perception when toxicity is discussed regarding pesticides.
The bottom line with any of these products is that when they are in their concentrated form they clearly present the biggest hazard. Once mixed and diluted, this hazard is reduced. Once dried following applications, the only hazard left is one which is present on any food crop which was treated. Ornamental plants not being eaten can have products with long residuals; fruits and vegetables should only be treated with something that will have a short residual and not conflict with “days to harvest” or when the fruit will be picked. In fact, some of the organic options are highly recommended by us since they work so well.
And one of these organic products we readily recommend is known as INSECTICIDAL SOAP. Used by many “natural farmers” and regarded as not being a true insecticide, Insecticidal Soap will quickly kill off thriving thrips. It won’t hurt plants or produce which is growing but it will work on just about any nuisance pest which is feeding and present during applications. The big limitation of this material is that it won’t provide any residual; once applied and dried it is essentially gone. This means you will have to repeat treatments as often as needed which is usually twice a week during growing seasons and more if local populations are abundant.
Soap: Insect Soap: http://www.bugspraycart.com/organic/liquid/insecticidal-soap
STRONGEST THRIP SPRAY
If the thrips are too persistent and you want something a little stronger and more traditional. These are true “pesticides” which will provide a longer residual compared to Insecticidal Soap. A good one is known as VEGETABLES PLUS PERMETHRIN. This is a true insecticide which is odorless, easy to mix and works on just about any pest in and around the garden. Since it works well for whiteflies and aphids, Permethrin is a natural for plants which are subject to a wide range of pests. Most importantly, it is the strongest product to use on fruits and vegetables so if you have a garden you are trying to protect, this is your best bet. It has a complete label which includes just about any target pest, any plant – fruit or vegetable – and 1-2 weeks of residual. Probably the most common active ingredient being used today by farmers in the agricultural market, Permethrin has a wide range of uses and presents a low hazard or danger to mammals.
Vegetables Plus Perm: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/liquid/veg-plus-10-perm
BEST THRIP LIQUID SPRAY
If you want the strongest option available and don’t intend on treating plants to eat or plants which will produce fruits or vegetables, consider the use of TALSTAR. This odorless concentrate is very active on just about all insects and can be used in and around the home for a wide range of pests. A little bit will go a long way which may be required for large gardens and acreage that needs to be treated. Talstar is one of the latest active ingredients available which means there is no resistance issues by common garden pests. It also means the general performance will be a little concentrate goes a long way. As a synthetic pyrethrin, Talstar delivers on these expectations. Use this if you have had ongoing problems with any garden pest including Whiteflies and Aphids since Talstar will quickly eliminate them.
Once you have made your decision regarding which of the products listed above to use, the next important step is insuring you have a good sprayer to apply the tank mix. Though there are many sprayers generically available which will suffice, it is important that any application get complete and uniform coverage. Such coverage is hard to obtain with many common household sprayers. We have a line of SPRAYERS which include special tips and nozzles that make this treatment a breeze. With the spray pattern optimized, you will be able to get the most coverage along with the best results for your time and effort. Furthermore, a good sprayer will cut down on chemical usage in effect saving money as well.
Pump Sprayer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/good/pump-sprayers
Once the right sprayer has been chosen, consider the use of some SPREADER STICKER, along with the pesticide being used, to help get that uniform and complete coverage which is vital for controlling thrips. Spreader Sticker is an odorless additive which is mixed with the Pesticide in the tank of the sprayer you are going to use. Spreader Sticker enhances the performance of the treatment by enabling the spray to envelope and “spread” over plant tissue and surfaces. This allows the applicator to get more area treated with less effort. One of the more common problems encountered when spraying for thrips is that much of the plant can be missed and thrips can be hiding in such areas. The use of Spreader Sticker will help minimize such misses. Better coverage translates to better performance and again less material that needs to be applied.
Spreader Sticker: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/additive/spreader-sticker
Another spray option that’s well suited for large areas is CYONARA RTS. This is a concentrate packed in a quart jug that is also used to spray the material. Basically all you need to do is connect the Cyonara to your garden hose and spray away. Cyonara is a similar product compared to Talstar and when you need a cover a lot of area – especially when treating lawns – Cyonara is a good choice.
THRIP CONTROL DUST
Worth mentioning is an often times forgotten formulation known as a dust. There are two that work well for thrips including PERMETHRIN DUST and DELTAMETHRIN DUST. Permethrin Dust would be the choice if you are treating vegetables or fruit producing plants. Deltamethrin Dust is the stronger of the two and will provide longer residual for non-edibles. Apply either with a DUSTIN MIZER which makes treatment easy compared to old traditional methods of dusting and allows you to get uniform coverage. Again, this is critical when treating for thrips and the Dustin Mizer, along with it’s Deflector option, can make dusting so much easier and yet so much more effective. One of the advantages of dusting is that you are able to see exactly where you have treated and where you still need to get coverage since it will leave a white dust over the plant. However, this can prove advantageous since you will be able to tell when the treatment has either worn or washed away whereas liquid treatments are invisible and not detectable when gone. Still, for some the unpleasant sight of a white dusted plant is enough for them to change over to either of the sprayables listed.
Permethrin Dust: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/dust/viper-perm-dust-4-lb
One more area that should not be ignored is the treatment of any key wet and damp mulch areas where thrips may be nesting and pupating. As detailed above, thrips will feed for a couple of stages and then pupate during their fourth stage in leaf litter, mulch or grass. This journey back to the ground means that even the most complete treatment of plants with active thrips will not address all areas they populate. You can spray any of the aforementioned concentrates over the turf suspected to be nest sights. This will offer some control.
THRIP CONTROL GRANULES FOR FLOWER BEDS
Just remember that thrips like it wet and moist. They will readily move into pine straw, wood chips, grass, thatch and dirt to pupate and if you have any such areas around the home, it is best to treat them. Try to find such areas where moisture is high; thrips will regularly retreat to such areas even if they are remotely located from plant/food supplies. These areas are usually easy to find because emerging thrips will be active both stinging and flying. Since this moisture is so important, thrips will go out of their way to find such locations and will readily nest in clogged gutters, potted plants with wet soil or moist bottoms and areas around garden hoses and water spickets.
Be sure to treat these areas with the liquid material you choose but if you want some long term protection, apply either COMPLETE LAWN GRANULES or some ESSENTRIA EXEMPT GRANULES first. Complete Lawn Granules use cyfluthrin for their active ingredient; the Essentria uses a food grade active and is the organic choice. Both will last 2-3 months per application.
Essentria Granules: http://www.bugspraycart.com/exempt/granule/eco-exempt-org-g-22-lb
The great thing about them is that they are slow acting and will work on thrips as they migrate too and from such areas. Furthermore, areas which harbor moisture – whether intentional or not – will tend to become the breeding ground for a host of insects. Exempt Granules will work on just about any insect that might try to live there thus providing pest control for more than just the thrips. Apply them with a GRANULE SPREADER and you will insure good coverage. Do this quarterly – once every three months – and you won’t have to worry about such areas becoming Thrip infested.
THRIP SPRAY FOR INSIDE THE HOME
Once thrips get established out in the yard, they will many times find their way inside the home. You’ll know this is happening when people start getting bit. And if you keep plants inside the home, thrips will many times start to nest in the soil of these plants and become a permanent resident. And once this happens, they live, breed and bite all year long.
So if you’re finding thrips inside, get the outside treated as explained above. This should help.
Next, any potted plants kept inside should be treated with TALSTAR or VEGETABLES PLUS. Be sure to mist the plant’s leaves and stems so none are missed. Next, drench the soil in the pot. This way you’ll eliminate any potential for the pots to become a breeding site which typically happens.
Vegetables Plus Perm: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/liquid/veg-plus-10-perm
Another treatment that will work quickly for the adults flying around is to mist daily with PT-565. This uses pyrethrin as the active ingredient and can be used as a space spray for flying pests like thrips. It can be safely applied anywhere in the home and though it won’t provide long term control, it will knock out any adults that are active and about. Remember, this will not solve the problem but should offer relief from the non stop biting and stinging that commonly happens when springtails are present.
Now if you want something more “automatic”, install AEROSOL MACHINES filled with PURGE III. These small machines are battery operated and can be configured to set out a small blast of the Purge refills which contain pyrethrin. This is safe to use in the home where people and pets are active yet strong enough to kill flying insects like thrips. These machines will run for a month or more with one can of Purge and will control any pest including flies, gnats, mosquitoes, wasps and bees. Be sure to keep units in any room which has activity.
THRIP TREATMENTS FOR MARIJUANA PLANTS
With the legalization of medicinal marijuana, we frequently get asked what products can safely be used on plants to control common pests like thrips, whiteflies, symphilids, fungus gnats, spider mites and more. No doubt marijuana plants will readily attract a wide range of insect pests and many of these can prove devastating to the growers crop. So are there products specifically for use on marijuana?
Not really. You see, since there are countless thousands of plants, it’s simply not possible to list them all on any one specimen label. So in general, what we find is that the “strongest” chemicals we carry are usually limited to non edible plants like ornamentals. Since these aren’t yielding edible fruit or vegetables, the actives used on them can be long lasting. Such products (live Avid), should NOT be used on marijuana.
But anything approved for organic gardening or labels which are ORMI certified can be considered. These products typically have a short life on the plant and if the active ingredient isn’t “lingering” with persistent residue or residual action, there is no chance of exposure to people consuming the harvest.
In fact, one way to determine if a product might be leaving a long lasting residue or residual is to check the label to learn the “days to harvest” value. If this number is 1 day or less, it means the chemical being applied is essentially gone in one day.
And if a spray has a “one day to harvest” value when used on edible fruits or vegetables, its safe enough for use on marijuana. Examples of such products include MULTIPURPOSE INSECT KILLER 567 and INSECTICIDAL SOAP. The Multipurpose Insect Killer is actually a combination of Soap and Pyrethrin so it’s no doubt the stronger of the two options. But what’s important here is that both formulations are gone within a day of being applied. Of course, the obvious problem with this feature is that insect pests can come back faster which in turn means you’ll no doubt have to spray more frequently. But this is the trade off of using a spray which will be safe enough for the intended use of the plant.
Organic Insect Killer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/organic/liquid/multi-purpose-insect-killer-24-oz
Now if preferred, you can also “space spray” the air around your plants with a pyrethrin based aerosol like PT-565 or PURGE 3. These products use pyrethrin for actives and break down within hours of being applied. The PT-565 can be applied manually as needed; the Purge 3 needs to be applied using an automated AEROSOL MACHINE. Basically you set the machine to go off on a regular schedule and replace the Purge 3 when the can runs out. These two options are good candidates for small green houses, closets, etc. and like the liquid sprays listed above, won’t leave persistent or long lasting chemicals on the plants.
Thrips are a common pest that will readily infest many plants in and around the home. Though small and easy to crush with your fingers, thrips are a persistent and annoying insect. Help prevent getting them on any sensitive plant because once you get them they can cause a lot of damage to host vegetation as well as spread disease. Use the Flying Insect Killer for prevention; use either Insecticidal Soap, Permethrin Concentrate or Talstar once you have them and want to eliminate local populations. Permethrin or Deltamethrin Dust are two other products that will work to knock out existing colonies once found and if you have a lot of damp mulch areas where they are nesting, use some ECO Exempt Granules for long term control and residual. By keeping this small but troublesome pest under control you will assuredly keep local plants protected and not enable them to get so populated that they start stinging people.
Give us a call if you need further help. Our toll free is 1-800-877-7290 and we’re open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. On Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time).
Email questions here: http://www.bugspray.com/about-us/contact-us
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