Symptoms: Damage by this insect usually shows up as damage to the flower buds that makes them turn brown and die. If the flowers are able to open up, they may be distorted and streaked. In the leaves, thrips cause the development of silvery, whitish streaks.
 

Diagnosis: Thrips (both singular and plural BTW) are tiny creatures measuring only about 1/20th of an inch. Open up a browning flower bud caused by thrips, you should find things that resemble brown or straw colored slivers of wood. If they move around, they are thrips.

There are several species of thrips but it takes a trained entomologist to tell the difference. They have rasping mouth parts which cut into the plant tissue and then the thrips feed on the juices released in the wounds. Most of their time is spent hidden inside flower buds.

Thrips are migratory insects that move long distances on wind currents so they can quickly move into an area and start feeding. They are usually at their peak numbers in late spring into midsummer. Since they cause damage by cutting into the plant tissue, they are especially harmful during droughty weather.
 

Treatment: Since they are often hidden inside the plant parts, thrips are almost impossible to eliminate from your garden. There are several insecticide products that are labeled for control of thrips which will help minimize the damage. You can also pick off damaged plant parts and destroy them to minimize reproduction of the thrips.

Note: We have provided some general information and observations on this topic aimed at the home gardener. Before you take any serious action in your landscape, check with your state's land grant university's Cooperative Extension Service for the most current, appropriate, localized recommendations.

 

Types of Insects

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