Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pest to Monitor: Flower Thrips-

The eastern flower thrips, Frankliniella tritici, feeds mainly on flowers and fortunately is not known to vector any virus. Because of their tiny size, flower thrips are carried over large areas by wind systems. Flower thrips are found throughout North Carolina with peak migration early to mid June. They have been found on dozens of hosts. Control of flower thrips is difficult because of constant migration from weeds, grass, flowers and trees. They are also known to make a mild, but noticeable "nip" to the skin.

The first step in management is to eliminate as many weeds in the area as possible, or keep them mowed so they do not flower. To protect flowers, homeowners might use products such as neem or Mavrik. Pyrethrin insecticides might be used before blossoms open to protect pollinators. The commercial industry should rotate chemicals to reduce concern of resistance. They might use products such as Conserve, Pedestal, Azatin (or Ornazin) and BotaniGard. Monitoring for thrips with yellow sticky cards can also help detect populations as they are increasing, allowing controls to be started before substantial plant damage. Note from Dr. Stephen Bambara

For more information on flower thrips, see Ornamental and Turf Insect Note No. 21 at Thrips

For more information contact your local Cooperative Extension Center and ask for the Commercial Horticulture Agent.