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Thrips: biology and control

Thrip Information    Control of Thrips

Thrips are very small, slender  insects that often are barely visible to the eye.  Although small in size, they loom very large as pests of many crops.  Bailey (1936) states that the onion Thrips particularly the larvae, are apt to bite people.  This bite produces a prickling sensation which results in a slight itching but no swelling.  At times these insects invade the home from adjacent fields.  Grass Thrips or "oat bugs" feed on grains and grasses.  From there, they migrate into houses.  These insects are sometimes small enough to enter homes through conventional window screens and bite residents.  The bite may cause a mysterious rash.  People have also been bitten by Thrips brought in on blankets hung in the yard.  On occasion, pear Thrips will bite.  Thrips occasionally become serious pest in summer in grassy areas and around swimming pools. Indoors, Thrips can cause a serious visual nuisance by crawling behind the glass of framed pictures.

Thrip Elimination

Chemical control of Thrips that are biting people around homes or recreation sites is accomplished by directing the chemical spray at the host plant: flowers, grasses, etc. as well as the grounds around such infested vegetation.  Once Thrips invade the home or are known to bite humans, all possible Thrip harborage and entry points should be treated with an approved insecticide.  When choosing a Thrip spray or dust you should make sure that the pest control product is labeled for use in areas in need of treatment.
Personal protection is available but is only recommended in situations where working in an infested area results in irritating Thrip bites.  DEET can offer some temporary relief from biting Thrips but should not be relied on for control of the infestation.
There are several pest control sprays to choose from, each with its advantages and limitations.  Natural Rx is an all natural insect repellent manufactured by Dr. T's Nature Products.  This bug spray is a ready to use product that can be used on any type of plant material including fruits, vegetables and ornamentals.  With a broad label you can spray this product on any type of plant but do not expect a long residual with the spray.  Use outdoors only.
Another natural product that can be used on most plants is Pyrethrin-Rotenone Spray.  Both Natural Rx and Pyrethrin-Rotenone Spray products satisfy the needs of those who wish to use organic type products or when plants yielding edible fruits or vegetables need to be sprayed.
When a better product (with better knock-down and longer residual) is needed, choose a professional pest control product that is labeled for areas infested with Thrips.  Dragnet (Professional strength Permethrin) and Talstar are concentrates that are labeled for treating most trees, shrubs, ornamentals and lawns.  Neither of these two products are labeled for fruit or vegetable plants.  
Dragnet is a multi-purpose insecticide concentrate that contains the highest concentration of Permethrin insecticide.  Use this product for a wide range of pests found in homes as well as on ornamental plants around the exterior of buildings.  Dragnet has what is called an "indoor broadcast label" which allows spraying of indoor flooring, carpets and furniture when treating for fleas, ticks, etc.
Talstar One is the very best concentrated insecticide available for treating shrubs, trees and ornamental plants for a wide variety of pests and is excellent for killing Thrips.  Talstar is also an odorless product that requires very small amounts of concentrate to yield professional results.


Thrip Biology
Eliminating Thrips