Western flower thrips (Frankliniiella occidentalis) and other species
Pest description and damage Several species of thrips cause injury to many woody ornamentals. All are very small insects, less than 0.05 inch long. Color varies from reddish-yellow to mid-dark brown. Winter populations are darker in color. Thrips have rasping mouthparts and damage plants by sucking on the contents of plant cells. Tiny specks of honeydew or black fecal tar spots are found, and leaves are bleached and silvered by feeding activities of thrips. Thrips can damage flower buds, flower petals, and leaf buds. Damage to flowers appears as streaking in the blossoms and a reduced flower life. Damage to foliage is particularly noticeable if it occurs in the bud stage. In this case, leaves and flower petals typically are distorted.
For biology, life history, monitoring and management
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