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Thrips: A Common Pest

Residential Pest Control | July 10, 2018

Around the Greater Austin area it is not uncommon to be plagued by Thrips – well your yard. Thrips are very small and often fuzzy looking little bugs that love to suck the juices out of rose petals, iris blooms, and lilies. The result are flowers that look like they are dying – the petals become spotted and tattered or the buds open and the flowers are misshaped. While, tiny, these little bug cause a lot of problems for people who love flowers.

The Infestation

All insects have a lifecycle which are either complete -meaning they pupate – or incomplete – meaning that they molt rather than pupate and emerge as an adult. Thrips have an incomplete lifecycle and the egg hatches into tiny versions of the adult. Most insects within complete lifecycles go through several molting stages before they become an adult. There are referred to as instars and the insect in this stage is called a nymph. Make no mistake that these little creatures are destructive in all stages of their lifecycle.

They generally lay their eggs inside of the plants tissue. In the case of a rosebud, the eggs are laid inside of the bud long before the flower opens. The bud acts as a protected nursery for the eggs and first instars or nymphs. The female is capable of laying hundreds of eggs at a time and that means she inoculates many flower buds. The nymphs emerge from the egg starving and in order to survive they must drink plant juice. To gain access to the fluid in the plants tissue, they abrade the still developing rosebud petals and then dine.

Small insects often reproduce several times per year and Thrips are no exception as they often have 2-4 generations per year. The math goes like this. The female lays 100 eggs and each of her daughters’ lay 100 eggs and her granddaughters each lay 100 eggs – by the time the year is done the garden is pulsing with Thrips.

Controlling Thrips

Controlling Thrips is difficult and while there are plenty of over-the-counter pesticides, the job is much larger than just pesticides. Garden and yard pest prevention often begins with good yard maintenance. Small critters need very little to make a home. A good way to keep the Thrip population down is to make sure that all the fallen leaves and debris is removed regularly. Also, pay close attention to flowers and remove the buds that look damaged or deformed. Those may well contain a whole population of Thrip nymphs or eggs. Place these damaged flowers and buds in a contain and then discard that contain in your green waste can. Many gardeners soak buds and flowers that they suspect have Thrips in soapy water. This helps to ensure that the Thrips are destroyed. These are flying insects and as small as they are they will disburse if needed.

If needed, reach out to our team of professionals. We understand how to safely use pesticides and traps to handle and control pest populations around your home and business.

Do you need pest control? Don't wait. Call Robert's Pest Control now at (512) 444-0132.

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