Thrips

Family Name

Order Thysanoptera

Characteristics

Type:

Flying – Biting

Size:

Tiny insect; only 0.04 inch to 0.2 inch in length.

Colour:

Varies; depending on species. Most are dark with whitish or translucent wings that are long, thin and fringed with long hairs.

Behaviour:

Thrips primarily feed on plants, although some species are predaceous or feed on fungal spores. These insects are usually seen in buildings, only when the populations on landscape plants grow large. Thrips may be attracted to buildings by the heat or coolness given off or by other factors. Once on a building, their tiny size gives them easy access inside and insect screens pose no barrier to them. These insects are important, because they will bite people even though they do not feed on blood like mosquitoes and mites. It is unknown why they bite when they land on exposed skin, but the resulting bite can produce a stinging sensation and be quite painful. Often, bites occur to people sitting or working outdoors near plants which harbour the thrips. They may fly onto a patio or deck, then land on a person and bite. As a result, they have been known to disrupt dining experiences on restaurant patios.

Habitats

Thrips are attracted by shrubs and other landscape plantings. They can be found in flower blossoms, under leaves and hiding in bark.

During the spring and summer, these pest insects infest the vegetables, flowers, flowering plants, fruit crops and trees as they feed. They can live in greenhouses throughout the year, where they can quickly reproduce into overwhelming numbers.

To survive the winter, these bugs bury themselves under the debris of plants (often material left over from harvesting) or find shelter underground.

Tips for Control

These small insects can quickly overwhelm a and should be dealt with as soon as they’re discovered. Once thrips are identified as garden the culprit, the plantings they infest will require immediate treatment. Such treatment is completed by a tree and shrub company. Some pest control companies will be licensed and offer such services. It is recommended to consult a professional for advice.