Thrips are small, flying insects that can be found on both indoor and outdoor plants. They are common pests that can cause damage to plants by sucking sap from leaves. If you notice any signs of thrips on your houseplants, it is important to take action right away to prevent further damage. In this blog post, we will discuss how to identify thrips on houseplants and provide tips for controlling them.
Thrips look like a grain of rice. They have slender bodies but are considerably smaller. They are primarily found in white, yellow, or brownish-brownish shades.
The term “thrips” can apply to a swarm of similar insects. They damage plants by sucking the sap out of them. They can transport viruses from one plant to the next while being fed.
Let’s find out how to identify and prevent thrips from attacking your houseplant.
Life Cycle of Thrips
Thrips grow in higher temperatures. The following are the different stages of a thrips life cycle:
Three Days of Eggs
Most infestations begin around mid-spring and can linger into the fall. When temperatures and daylight hours rise again in the spring, reproduction numbers start to decline.
It will be found in the plant’s crevices and crevices between the stems and petioles during its incubation period. Within a few days, the eggs begin to hatch, and the larvae crawl within an hour.
Four to Eight Days of Instar
This is the most critical time for the insect’s development. The wingless larva begins to flail and weaken if it does not receive adequate nutrition and a suitable habitat over which it may exert dominance.
It will begin to scrape the leaves, searching for the sap. The first signs of thrip infestation are referred to as Instar.
A few days after the infection begins, the first yellowed legions of the aphid’s leaves appear about one hundred eggs hatch simultaneously.
Days 9-12 of Pregnancy
The Instar crosses across to neighboring plants at this point in its development.
Even though they haven’t yet acquired wings, their intrinsic impulse to look for new hosts poses a serious threat to other plants.
Days 13-18 of Pupa
As soon as the Thrip’s wings have fully developed, you will no longer be able to control the invasion. It can now reproduce and fly to other plants without needing a habitat.
However, this solitary creature will continue to go unseen because of its small size of 2mm. It is only noticeable in huge numbers.
Thrip continues to explore its initial host searching for new, unspoiled vegetation. It can not only fly about the home looking for fresh plants, but it can also procreate and deposit over three hundred eggs.
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Thrips on Houseplants in the United States
Thrips are small, straw-colored insects with feathered wings. They are typical pests residing on houseplants.
You might not be able to identify them without external help. However, you can easily detect them if they travel in an animated line across the leaf veins.
A reddish-brown discoloration can detect a thrips infection on the plant’s surface.
Due to the lack of natural predators in human habitats, these insects can reproduce asexually and wreak substantial harm.
Inspect your houseplants regularly. Check the undersides of the leaves as thrips are mostly hidden there.
How Can Thrips Harm Your Plant?
Thrips feed on the sap and fluids of your plants by piercing holes in their surfaces. They can attack the plant’s leaves, blossoms, stems, and other parts.
Typically, the damage will appear as silvery or brownish markings on your plants’ leaves and stems. They can also leave behind black deposits, known as thrips feces.
Thrips Infestation on an Anthurium
Take a look at the Anthurium leaf. Check the undersides of your leaves. Sometimes, the top of the leaf appears spotless; however, you might notice the thrip damage towards the bottom.
The new growth of your plants might seem gnarled and distorted, with silvery streaks on the flowers and foliage.
Thrips Infestation on an Oxalis Triangularis
Oxalis triangularis’ leaves, blooms, and stems can be infested with female thrips. Afterward, the eggs hatch, and nymphal thrips begin eating on your plant.
Most thrips have pupal stages when the nymphs are deposited in the earth.
Once the larvae have completed this stage of development, they will become adults and fly back up to your plant to continue the cycle of devastation.
Thrips can develop from eggs to adults in as little as two weeks if kept in ideal circumstances.
Even if you spray your house plant with a pesticide, the nymphs and adults might get killed, but the eggs will not be impacted since they are hidden in the plant’s tissue.
What are the Sources of Thrips?
There are a lot of places where thrips can originate from, including:
- If you’ve taken your plant outside for the summer, you may have carried thrips with you when you brought it back inside.
- When purchasing or bringing home new houseplants, be aware of the potential presence of thrips. It might be challenging to detect them in the early stages of an infestation.
- Thrips usually originate from aroids, palms, and Calathea, as they are among the most vulnerable houseplants to thrips.
Symptoms of Thrips on Houseplants
- Larvae that look like golden eggs first appear at the top of the leaves.
- The soil, stem, and flowers will all be covered in tiny black and white flies after only a few seconds of scrutiny.
- Once an infestation takes hold, yellow and black spots will begin to appear within a few days.
- Take prompt action; otherwise, they will remove the cell membranes from the leaf.
- Look at your neighboring plants to check if this insect has infected them before moving on to the treatment options. Because thrips are infectious, they can quickly spread from one plant to another.
- Thrips prefer to prey on older plants and will swiftly annihilate any new growth they come across. Check them first.
How to Identify Thrips on Houseplants
Identifying thrips on houseplants in Texas can be challenging since they are so tiny. You can use a hand lens if you suspect an infestation.
Their coloration might vary greatly depending on the species. Chili species of thrips are tiny, pale-colored, and between 0.25 to 1.2 mm long.
On the other hand, flower species of thrips are somewhat darker and have a length of 1.0–1.5 mm. The damage can also identify them they leave behind.
As a result, the leaves of the plants are curled and twisted. The leaf can also become a dark shade of silver or even black.
Chilli thrips have a life cycle that lasts around two to three weeks. Climate and plant species can affect how long they last.
Female thrips create small incisions in leaves and introduce the tissue into which they lay their fertilized eggs. Freshly born nymphs eat from the plant throughout their life.
You can find pupae of chili thrip on leaves, in the soil, or even in flowers. As with western flower thrips, you should focus on the plant rather than the soil.
The following are some easy tips to identify thrips on houseplants:
- Use a magnifying lens to be sure your pest is a thrip and not another bug that leaves black spots on plants.
- Use a branch or leaf and pound it on the paper to check for thrips. They will fall onto the paper.
- Use blue or yellow sticky cards. If thrips are present, the cards will alert you.
Plants That are Prone to Thrips
Succulents and members of the Cactaceae family (Desert & Jungle Cacti) are safe from pest infestations, but most houseplants are in danger.
Palms, Dracaena, and various members of the Aroid family are the most common plants to be infested by Thrips. Large amounts of thrips eggs and nutritious sap can be found on broad, thin leaves.
How to Get Rid of Thrips on Houseplant in the United States
The following are some tips to get rid of thrips on houseplants:
- Getting rid of thrips on houseplants is difficult since it has a relatively long life cycle.
- The female can produce up to two hundred eggs.
- Thrips can infest any portion of the plant that has a flat surface. It means that any plant section above the soil level is at risk.
- Remove and crush any bugs or larvae that are readily apparent using your fingers or a moist towel.
- Remove infested flowers and foliage from the worst-affected areas.
- Hose down the plant once you’ve taken it outside. Target the cubbyholes and leaves for destruction.
- Get a fresh batch of the proper compost and mix it in while the soil is drying up.
- Spray the leaves with an organic or chemical insecticide once it has dried.
As long as you don’t see any evidence of an infestation for many weeks after completing the procedures, you’re done. It is essential to isolate the infected plant in a separate room to avoid the spread.
Which Remedies Work Best for Getting Rid of Thrips on Houseplant?
The following are the effective remedies to kill thrips on houseplants:
1. Homemade Insecticide
Make an insecticide using water and soap.
Mix 1.5 teaspoons of soft liquid soap into a quart of water and use immediately for an easy DIY pesticide.
It’s wise to perform a quick test on a tiny portion of your plant first to avoid scorching or other unintended effects.
Because insecticide is only effective when wet, administer the spray early in the day or late at night. If you apply it during the golden hour, there’s a chance it’ll dry out on your plants’ leaves.
Repeat this procedure every 4 to 7 days until you no longer notice thrips and your plant’s condition stabilizes.
2. Neem Oil
Insect infestations on plants can be treated with neem oil.
Add a few drops of liquid soap to the mixture after following the dilution instructions on the container. Squirt the liquid onto the plant and let it dry. It is an excellent prophylactic strategy.
Test your solution on a tiny area before applying it to the entire plant.
Identifying thrips on houseplants in Montana is more complicated than ever because of its weather. Therefore, you should take the plant outside or in the garage to avoid the scent of Neem oil drying.
Alternatively, you may use a Leaf Armor spray. It is a natural approach to get rid of pests from your plant.
It would help if you administered the spray in the early morning or late evening rather than during the warmest hour of the day. This helps to keep the spray from drying out too fast.
3. Lint Roller
Sometimes, you don’t have time to wait for the thrips to land on your sticky traps. The sticky trap is brought to them by using a lint roller.
You can use a lint roller to get rid of thrips by simply holding a leaf flat in your palm and gently rolling the lint roller over it. Check both sides of each leaf and perhaps even the stems.
Ladybugs love thrips. As soon as the ladybugs are released into the plant’s soil, they’ll go on the hunt for thrips and begin devouring them.
There is a significant chance that the ladybugs will spread to other plants in your home. If you don’t mind having a few ladybugs around, this may be a terrific solution for your thrips infestation.
Clip off the afflicted leaves if a thrips infection has advanced. This will eliminate any eggs or mature thrips still clinging to those leaves and kill them.
Your plant energy is redirected toward repairing the remaining leaves and producing new growth when damaged leaves are pruned away.
Sterilize a pair of scissors or shears by soaking them in a solution of alcohol or soap and hot water. You should also wear gloves to protect your hands from the plant’s sap.
Use the lint roller method to remove as many thrips off the leaves as feasible. Then cut the stems of the leaves you wish to remove with care.
Try not to disturb the soil or lower leaves by squeezing the leaves too hard.
Cut off the diseased parts of the leaves when pruning to protect the aesthetics and start the healing process.
Start with a fresh plant if your infestation is severe. You might lose many leaves. Consider propagating the healthy leaves.
Thrips are a major problem for indoor gardeners. They drain sap from their host plants in exchange for yellow lesions on the dying leaves. There can be an outbreak of thrips within several days. They tend to do severe damage to the plant after they hatch. Handle your plant with care when treating them.
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Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.