Thrips is a big enemy for many crops and is a problem that can quickly take on big proportions. As a grower, your approach to handling this insect is something you can't take lightly – a well-considered strategy is an absolute must. Knowledge about this pest, together with the guidance of Koppert consultants, will help you make the right choices. Here are ten important facts about thrips to help you brush up your knowledge.
1. How can you recognize thrips? These flying insects are slender and extremely small (between 0.5 and 2.5 mm long).
2. The thrips family is very large; there are many species of thrips. But don’t panic: most of them are harmless. Western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis) causes the most trouble. But other species that cause damage are also seen regularly. They're often difficult for growers to distinguish from each other.
3. In order to be effective against thrips, you need to know which intruder you are dealing with. Koppert's experts help you determine the identity of the intruders.
4. Thrips sucks plant juices from the upper leaf and/or flower cells, resulting in the characteristic silver-grey spots and brown dots. This can lead to considerable damage.
5. A very unusual aspect is that the thrips females can lay eggs without being fertilized by a male. Usually only males emerge, but for onion thrips you get just females. When fertilized, their offspring include both males and females.
6. When laying eggs, the female damages the plant. Such damage can lead to a deformation.
7. Action is needed: if measures are not taken, the thrips population in the greenhouse will develop explosively. The western flower thrips, for example, doubles its population in four days. So there's no time to lose!
8. Thrips has an additional weapon in its arsenal: the pupae are often in the soil. This stage can be tackled with parasitic nematodes.
9. The thrips don't like the cold and will rest in a hidden place at low temperatures.
10. The good thing is that you're not alone in the fight against thrips, as predatory mites and bugs are natural enemies of the insect. Nematodes can also play a role in control.