Last Updated: February 28, 2019

Definition - What does Thrip mean?

Thrips (Thysanoptera) are small, slender, winged insects that feed on plants and are a common garden pest. Most thrips feed by puncturing through a leaf and sucking out the nutrients, depriving the plants of what they need to grow.

Thrips are a common pest in the greenhouse and for indoor and outdoor plants. Because they can reproduce asexually, they often form large swarms, making them especially annoying in the garden, yet often easy to idenfity. During a thrip infestation, plant leaves turn pale, splotchy, or silvery and then eventually die.

MaximumYield explains Thrip

There are more than 6,000 different varieties of thrips and most of them are pests for commercial crop farmers. Some species of thrips act as vectors carrying more than 20 plant viruses that can infect the garden or greenhouse.

Almost any variety of vegetable or fruit can fall prey to thrips and both the adult and larva are attracted by white or light-colored blossoms. Thrips can cause and infect the entire garden with the tomato-spotted wilt virus and impatiens necrotic spot virus. However, there are a few thrip varieties that are valuable as plant pollinators.

The wings of a thrip are basically useless for flight and they use an odd method of mobility called “clap and fling.” Thrips literally hurl themselves from leaf to leaf and plant to plant. Thrips have asymmetrical mouthparts.

There are a number of commercially available treatments for thrips that include a variety of different pesticides. Organic control of thrips includes getting rid of the other weed plants they breed on and washing the plants with an insecticidal soap. Thrips have few natural predators, so prevention is always the best first line of defense against infestations.

Share this: