Thrips are small enough that most of the time you won’t know they’re there, and the damage they inflict on plants is often confusing and can lead one to believe that something else is responsible. And often when I’m assessing a problematic plant and mention them, people will frown and ask, ‘What are thrips?’
Thrips are minute less than 1mm, slender insects with fringed wings and unique asymmetrical mouthparts. Different thrips species feed mostly on plants by puncturing and sucking up the contents, although a few are predators.
Thrips primarily feed on new growth of leaves, flowers and fruit, the damage they do is often caused before this new growth develops fully: flowers and leaves then open with distorted shapes, necrotic patches and streaks that can resemble disease, mechanical damage or nutrient deficiency. They can also feed on matured foliage, leaving behind silverish patches which in some species can become bronze-coloured or corky with time. Thrips are quite tiny, and when hidden deep in a flower bud or the like can be practically invisible. Knocking the plant part while holding it above a white sheet of paper will often dislodge a few and reveal their presence, and they do leave dark little globs of feaces near feeding damage as well.
The most obvious contribution that thrips make to their ecosystem is the damage they can cause during feeding. They feed on flowers, buds, under leaves, or other hidden areas of growing plant parts such as central terminals. This sneaky habit is what makes it hard to control them. Citrus thrips can occur on most fruit trees, California pepper trees and pomegranate. That infestation is indicated by yellow to brownish scabby feeding scars that form on fruit, often in a ring around the citrus stem.
The damage from flower thrips can be discoloration and stippling. The more common damage seen is the bleaching and stippling of leaves. The once green leaves take on a silvery appearance and when you turn the damaged leaf over you will notice the tiny black excrement specks. They look like tiny drops of oil. They fly only weakly and their feathery wings are unsuitable for conventional flight; instead, thrips exploit an unusual mechanism, clap and fling, to create lift using an unsteady circulation pattern with transient vortices near the wings. They are capable of flight and also of being carried by the breeze due to their tiny size.
Thrips can also be a nuisance because of their small size. They are able to get into strange places like the inside of a picture frame or LCD television. Imagine the expense of taking your TV apart to extract a wayward thrip. And, to top it off, thrips can bite. The bite is not dangerous, but can create an irritating, itchy bump.
This latter fact is one of the main challenges with their management by chemical means; as they reproduce so quickly, they are able to just as quickly develop resistance to insecticides, and thus these only offer a measure of control for a short time before they are useless.
Let us look at some evidences:
Coffee pest outbreak threatens Kenya’s yield
May 18th 2017, Standard digital
Coffee pest outbreak threatens Kenya’s yield.Kenya’s coffee output could be adversely affected following an outbreak of thrips in one of the most productive parts of Central Kenya.
The outbreak has hit all coffee-growing zones in Mwea East and Mwea West sub-counties due to what experts said were prolonged drought conditions under which the pest thrives best. Gitari Ndambiri from Kiamichiri village, whose 500 coffee trees have been attacked by the pest, said he had not appreciated the magnitude of the attack until recently. “Towards the end of March, I started noticing some leafs turning grey from underneath, but I did not get bothered since I thought it was due to the prevailing drought,” he said.
According to John Kimani, an industrial crops scientist, thrips have the capacity to obliterate entire crops if untamed.
He said coffee yields could drop by up to 5,000 metric tonnes per season unless farmers unless continuous spraying is done.
Georgia cotton growers having tough time with thrips
By Phillip Roberts, Georgia Extension Entomologist, South east farm press,May 31, 2013
Infestations vary across the state of Georgia, but as a whole this has been a tough thrips year. Cotton planted in late April and early May grew off slowly which exacerbated (made worse) plant injury symptoms associated from thrips feeding. Thrips numbers were only moderate during the first half of May but plant injury was severe in some areas.
Beginning late last week (about May 23), thrips numbers significantly increased in many areas. We normally expect the peak in thrips populations to occur earlier, but the peak appears to be later than normal.
As stated earlier some species of thrips feed on other insects or mites and are considered beneficial, while some feed on fungal spores or pollen. Hence they hold a lot of ecological importance in our eco system. In many thrips species, by the time their damage is observed, such as after buds open, the thrips may no longer be present. Thus instead of taking controlling remedies one must look for effective preventive measures.
The main challenge is with their management by chemical means; as they reproduce so quickly, they are able to just as quickly develop resistance to insecticides, and thus these only offer a measure of control for a short time before they are useless. Irresponsible use of these chemicals by producers (failing to rotate chemicals, calendar spraying, and incorrect technique) have not helped the situation, and in fact, probably the most widespread of these beasts in Canadian ornamental horticulture, the western flower thrips, is now resistant to most chemical insecticides.
But before your despair causes you to throw your scarred old plants and crops, wait there is a hope.
At C Tech Corporation we offer safe and effective solution to deal with these insects. TermirepelTM is a non-toxic, non-hazardous product that primarily repels insects from the application. The best feature of this product is that it is environmentally safe and causes no harm to insects as well as for humans. TermirepelTM product is available in the form of masterbatch, liquid concentrate (which is diluted in paints in a specific ratio) and lacquer. Termirepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous broad spectrum insect aversive masterbatch which works not only against termites but a host of other insects. TermirepelTM masterbatch can be incorporated in different kinds of films, cables and wires etc and is found to be effective against the most aggressive insects. To prevent the damage causing from thrips to your crops and plants films can be incorporated with TermirepelTM masterbatch which can be used to cover the area or mulches. These films can also be wrapped around fruits to prevent from damage. All this can be done by just repelling the insect and not killing them. Thus, following the course of ecological balance and sustainability.
Contact if you have problems regarding pesky little insects!!