Fighting thrips

Fighting Thrips: Preventing Damage From Thrips

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How do you recognize the damage caused by thrips? What options are there to combat? We reveal which remedies against thrips and how to get rid of them.

In the USA there are innumerable names for the thrips ( Thysanoptera ), well-known names are fringed-winged, bladder-footed, or even thunderstorm animals. As a rule, these insects are not a big problem for the hobby gardener in the garden. However, due to their size, the small insects are spread countless kilometers by the wind and also get into living rooms and greenhouses.

Thrips find perfect living conditions there and can quickly become a problem due to their high rate of reproduction. Therefore, thrips are typical greenhouse pests. In addition to the adult animals, the larvae also suckle one plant cell after the other. The affected plants can look very ugly after a thrips invasion and in some cases, viruses are also transmitted to the plants. Therefore, we will show you how to fight thrips naturally.

Recognize thrips

The small plant vacuums are primarily aimed at indoor plants such as orchids (Orchidaceae), rubber trees ( Ficus elastic ), or the bow hemp ( Sansevieria ). The pests are particularly common in the home, as they love low humidity. The insects themselves are so small that they are easily overlooked by the naked eye. You can use the typical damage images so that identification is still possible.

This is how you can recognize thrips and their eggs

Due to the small size of about two millimeters and the light brown color, the small pests are almost invisible at first glance. If you look very closely, you can see that when you touch the plant, adult animals fly away in a small arc. The larvae of the thrips are colored light green and can partially be recognized on the underside of the leaf with a magnifying glass.

This is how you can recognize the damage caused by thrips

The typical damage pattern consists of yellow or silvery-gray speckles on leaves and flowers. As the disease progresses, these pinpricks can also continue to die and thereby turn brown. In young leaves, severe infestation can also lead to very unsightly deformations. The silvery-gray speckles in particular are falsely reminiscent of an infestation by spider mites. To rule out incorrect identification, you should pay attention to two things: Firstly, spider mites often produce threads that are reminiscent of the filaments of a spider’s web. In addition, spider mites are plump, while thrips are elongated. This difference can be seen quite well with a magnifying glass. This deviation is important because spider mites sometimes have to be controlled differently.

Summary: How do you recognize a thrips infestation?

  • Insects themselves are difficult to recognize due to their size
  • Typical signs of damage are silvery speckles on the upper side of the leaf or flowers
  • Deformations on young leaves
  • Difference to spider mites: no filaments and elongated body

Fighting thrips: Recognizing the damage and fighting successfully

Prevent thrips

First of all, it should be said that a precaution against a thrips infestation is almost impossible. This is primarily since the wind can drag the animals into really every corner. The insects also like to cover shorter distances with their fringed wings. In addition, the animals live very hiddenly and even a very close-meshed fly net is not an obstacle. If you want to monitor a possible thrips infestation effectively, then blue boards are very suitable.

The thrips are clearly visible on it and the blue color attracts the animals almost magically. In general, thrips like dry air. So if you have the chance, try increasing the humidity, putting your plants in the bathroom for some time, or spraying them regularly. When the air humidity is high, the development of cysts is severely restricted.

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Combat thrips naturally

Infested house plants can also be put outdoors in summer. Thrip species that infest indoor plants usually cannot cope with the weather conditions outside and the problem solves itself.

A slight infestation by thrips can often be combated with home remedies such as soapy water with olive oil. To do this, mix one liter of water with two tablespoons of olive oil and a splash of soft soap. Spray your plants with the mixture and repeat until you can no longer see any infestation.

Fighting thrips: Recognizing the damage and fighting successfully

A natural way of getting rid of small insects is beneficial insects. The use of beneficial insects is particularly effective in closed rooms since the beneficial insects cannot migrate in this way. The predatory mite ( Amblyseius cucumeris ) and the lacewing ( Chrysoperla carnea ) are very effective beneficial species. During a targeted use of beneficial insects, you should refrain from using pesticides in order not to damage the beneficial insects.

Biological preparations based on rapeseed oil are also available. You should make sure that these agents do not use pyrethrins, as these have a very strong effect on beneficial organisms. Neem-based preparations are a particularly effective and biological way of combating thrips. They are based on the oil of the neem tree seeds with the herbal active ingredient azadirachtin. The active ingredient is absorbed by the thrips, disrupts their development, and ensures that feeding is stopped quickly.

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Organic pest-free neem is based on this effective neem oil and can be used both outdoors and in living spaces. The pest-free Neem is 100% vegetable and not dangerous to bees. It is simply mixed with water and sprayed onto the infested plant using a spray bottle. Just 0.3 milliliters of organic pest-free neem mixed with 200 milliliters of water are enough to treat one square meter. Please note that our organic pest-free neem must be used exactly as specified in the application recommendation: therefore read the package insert before use.

Tip: Organic pest-free neem is also ideal for combating aphids on indoor plants.

Summary: how can you fight thrips naturally?

  • Put infested plants outdoors
  • In the case of a slight infestation: use home remedies such as soapy water with olive oil
  • Targeted use of beneficial organisms such as predatory mites in protected cultivation
  • Preparations based on rapeseed oil, if possible without pyrethrins
  • Preparations based on neem, even for stronger infestations, e.g. our organic pest-free neem

Other remedies for thrips

Synthetic and biological pesticides against thrips are available on the market. Not all, but many synthetic agents use active ingredients that are dangerous to bees and beneficial organisms. Substances dangerous to bees include, for example, flupyradifuron and deltamethrin, which are used in several synthetic agents. Active ingredients of natural origin such as abamectin can also be dangerous for bees. For this reason, we advise against these and recommend organic products such as our organic pest-free neem instead.

Another uninvited guest in the garden, in the apartment, or the greenhouse are aphids. In our special article, we will show you how you can control aphids.

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