Some insects are good for plants, whereas the rest are harmful. Thrip is one of the harmful insects to plants. Plants with thrips will slowly die. This tiny insect attacks all types of plants, including houseplants, garden plants, and greenhouse crops. So, you must get rid of the thrips right away before it is too late. Learn about thrips and how to get rid of them below.
What Thrips Are
When you see tiny insects with black, yellow, or tan colors, it can be thrips. This animal is also known as thunder bugs, thunder blights, corn lice, and corn flies. Some thrips are good for plants but most of them are pests and destroy your plants. You may not see this pest due to the tiny size. This insect is only one to two mm long.
The Place Thrips Life on Plants
Thrips love to stay under the leaves. Leaves are also the place where they lay their eggs. Due to the tiny size, this creature only looks like black or white dots on leaves. The eggs hatch and drop into the soil to become adult thrips.
Thrips are coming from tiny eggs. Adult thrips often bury the eggs in the plant’s soft tissue. This insect becomes larva once they hatch. The larva grows into pupae and drops to the soil to become adult thrips. The process takes around 45 days.
The Way Thrips Destroy Plants
Thrips are feeding by sucking the juices on the leaves and stems. The problem is that they harm the plants. Thrips use their mount that looks like a soft pierce to suck the nutrients of the plants. After that, you will see white or black dots on the plants. Slowly but sure, the leaves’ color turns yellow and dry before dying.
Thrips can also cause diseases to plants. For example, thrips cause wilt viruses. It is a common disease that attacks tomatoes. The tomatoes will be wilting and not growing well, along with spots around the leaves. The plants will die if you don’t give the right treatment.
Thrips attack all types of plants, including roses, tomatoes, ornamental plants, monstera houseplants, orchids, fruit trees, and even vegetables. You can often find them around the small dark green or black specks under leaves. The plants grow weak, the leaves turn to yellow, and slowly die.
The Signs that Thrips Attack Your Plants
Check your plant right away if they don’t grow well than others. Start checking the leaves. Thrips may attack the plants if you see black, white, or yellow dots on the surface of the leaves. At a certain point, the plant becomes weaker and the leaves turn yellow. The buds stop to grow and don’t develop into flowers.
You may also gall on the leaves or stems of the plants. This sign creates discolored bumps and makes the plants unattractive. It happens because of the chemical compounds from the thrips that damage cells in the plants.
The Safe Way to Get Rid Of Thrips
You can do several ways to get rid of thrips from your plants. Try to apply the methods below if you have tomatoes or citrus with thrips.
Wash the Plants
Start to remove thrips from the simplest method first. Move the infected plants away from the healthy plants. Take the plants with thrips to the bathroom or outside. Wash them with a shower or hose. Do the process gently, so you don’t harm the foliage leaves.
Apply Insecticidal Soap
Try to apply insecticidal soap if washing the plants doesn’t work maximally. Combine one or two tablespoons of liquid Castile soap with 4 liters of distilled warm water. Stir and mix them well before pouring the mixture into a spray bottle. Spray the plants with the mixture on both sides to kill the thrips.
Apply this method periodically at least once a week for a maximal result. Insecticidal soap is safe not only for plants but also for people, animals, and birds. The compounds of the soap break down the outer layer of their body. You can also use this soap to remove whitefly, spider, mites, and aphids. This soap consists of fats and oil and is effective for natural pest control.
Apply Neem Oil
Neem Oil is impressive to get rid of a variety of pests, including aphids and thrips. You only have to combine two tablespoons of neem oil with one tablespoon of liquid Castile soap. Stir them well and pour the mixture into one liter of warm water. Pour the Neem oil mixture into a spray bottle and apply it to the plants. Experts explain that Neem oil removes up to 60% of thrips after the second application.
Spinosad is also safe to use in plants due to its natural compounds. The compounds work by interfering with the nervous system. Thrips become paralyzed because of the Spinosad and slowly die. The ingredients are passing through the leaves’ structure and killing thrip eggs. The compounds are harmful to bugs and insects, but they break down quickly in the environment.
Dormant oil is something you can apply if you can’t find the products above. The compounds work similarly to Spinosad that enters the leaf structure and kills the thrips. This oil can also interfere with the metabolism of the larvae and eggs, so they stop growing. Combine Dormant oil with one liter of warm water in a spray bottle. Spray this mixture on the plants or leaves once a week.
Use Yellow Sticky Traps
Thrips love something yellow. That’s why you can create sticky yellow traps to attract them. After that, you can focus on removing the rest of the thrips on the leaves.
Be careful with thrips when you are growing tomatoes, citrus, roses, and other plants. Make sure that you check the plants regularly. Treat thrips earlier if you see the signs by using natural treatments, so it doesn’t harm the plants. As a result, you see healthy plants, harvest the tomatoes, and enjoy the beauty of the flowers