Gardeners Kitchen

Thrips

 

Description

These long thin dark yellow to light brown bugs are up to 2mm long with lines going horizontally across its back and skinny wings which are not great for flying, however they can travel long distances by the wind. Found on many different plants in your garden they suck the sap out of your fresh young shoots, buds and leaves. Thrips live for roughly 7 weeks and each female can lay up to 70 eggs in that time within a slit in the leaf and take about a week to hatch, the wingless larvae then feed off the sap and once big enough they drop off the leaves to the soil and emerge as fly’s, and the process starts again.

Symptoms

White/cream scorching and discolouration on the leaves resulting in a reduction in photosynthesis, which may lead to the leaves falling off, and flowers and fruit can be damaged. The leaves can then turn a browny silvery shimmery and have a paper feel to them and you may also see black spots of excrement on the leaves

Control

Always keep on top of your weeds, these tend to be where most bugs start there life. If you think you may have a problem and you can’t see the little critters, place a white piece of paper underneath the leaves of your plant. Shake the leaves over the paper and with a magnifying glass you will be able to see the thrips slowly moving around. Place sticky traps around your garden (preferably not yellow as they are harder to see on them) this is a good way of seeing what population of bugs you have around your garden, although you will only find the adult fly thrips on them as the young won’t have wings yet. Remove any damaged leaves and put in a plastic bag and throw away. A spray of insecticidal soap directly onto the infected areas making sure you get in to the buds and under leaves will help, but if you have adult thrips, they may fly away before the mist hits them so you will need to re-apply. Once the soap starts to dry the thrips will start to stick together and for statues and therefore die of starvation. Sounds horrible I know but it’s better than pesticides. Before you spray your plants with soap, always test a small area before the main application, as certain soaps can harm your plant. Lacewings and ladybirds are another great way to treat all stages of thrips which are available to buy online. Please note that you cannot use the soap after you have introduced the bios as this will kill them as well! In the winter months dig the soil deep to bury any over wintering bugs.

Tip

Do not spray soap spay in the hottest part of the day this will scorch the leaves. Always try and water in the morning.