Last updated: November 22, 2021

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. They start out as tiny pale worms that morph into dark winged adults.

Thrips leave behind sticky silver or white spots on the plant’s surface where their mouths made holes in the plant’s fibers. Growers might also notice dark spots on the plant’s leaves and stems, which is the insect’s fecal residue.

Thrip pest


Maximum Yield Explains Thrip

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 identify. During a thrip infestation, plant leaves turn pale, splotchy, or silvery and then eventually die. Dark spots on leaves are the first discernible signs that a grower has to indicate that the plant has a thrip infestation.

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 plant 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.

Thrips are not a serious threat to a cannabis crop but they should be promptly controlled when detected. Thrips rarely afflict marijuana plants grown outdoors, but they are common in growrooms and greenhouses as they thrive in warm temperatures. The insects do not typically kill the cannabis plant, but they do cause it to look unsightly and the crop yield is usually significantly reduced.

Insecticidal soaps work well to control thrip infestations. The grower should follow the directions on the insecticidal soap for application instructions and ratios. Blue adhesive strips can also be hung around the growroom to control thrips. Neem oil also works to control thrips.

When using insecticidal soap to control a thrip infestation on cannabis, the grower should avoid getting the soap on the plant’s buds.

In addition to thrips, growers need to look out for spider mites, fungus gnats, whitefly, and aphids—all of which cause considerable more damage than thrips.


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