Tony O’Neill, gardener and author of the popular “Composting Masterclass” and “Your First Vegetable Garden,” combines lifelong passion and expert knowledge to simplify the art of gardening. His mission? Helping you cultivate a thriving garden. More on Tony O’Neill
Thrips are minor, slender bugs that suck the lives out of other bugs and plants in your garden at home. Plants affected include but are not limited to the following: Roses, Onions, Figs, Irises, Chives, and Impatiens.
Depending on the species, the body colors of thrips range from white to black through semi-transparent, yellow, and brown.
How To Get THRIPS Off Your Plants? Thrips can be controlled by timely pruning, good husbandry, good soil nutrition, and good ventilation and watering habits. But one of the best ways to eliminate thrips is to use predatory insects.
There are over 6000 species of thrips in the world; all belong to the taxonomic order Thysanoptera. It is important to note that some thrips on your garden plants are beneficial, whereas others remain a nuisance to your plants.
Since there are over 6000 species, it is hard to differentiate between the good and the bad. Therefore, I tend to control all of them to be sure.
How to get rid of thrips.
The best methods of getting rid of thrips are those that qualify as both natural and preventive. There are quite a several methods that I find helpful for this exercise.
I classify them as either preventive or curative. I further classify preventive and corrective measures as either natural or chemical methods.
If you are worried about getting rid of thrips from your plants, this article is worth reading. This guide is aimed at availing some of the most effective measures to remove thrips from your plants at home.
Preventive techniques for getting rid of thrips
We have all heard the saying that prevention is better than cure. I couldn’t agree more on this when it comes to getting rid of thrips. The list below is not exhaustive, but I have used these measures effectively.
- Timely pruning
- Ensuring garden cleanliness
- Growing thrip resistant plants
- Improve your soil nutrition
- Maintain good irrigation
- Reflective mulching
- Use predatory insects
I have a relatively large garden; I grow all of my fruit and vegetables to eat. Therefore, I ensure that already-infested leaves are removed and destroyed.
These should be burned or put out for green waste collection. It is safe to add to this as the process gets extremely hot and kills all parasites.
Ensuring garden cleanliness
Keeping a clean garden free of weeds is good husbandry since thrips also attack weeds. Thrips can shelter under garden debris. By removing this, you reduce the number of places for them to breed and hide. This will help you with thrips and other pest species, like slugs.
Growing thrip resistant plants
Some plants can stand up very well to thrip. It may be worth looking at growing these instead. As I have already said, I grow all my food, so for me, this is not an issue, and I found other ways to deal with thrips if they arrive.
Improve your soil nutrition.
Thrips tend to prefer attacking plants where the soils have high amounts of nitrogen because the plants that grow here are leafy.
You can control thrips by reducing the nitrogen in the ground. However, this is not always possible, as nitrogen is required for good yields if you grow food.
Maintain good irrigation
Thrips like to be warm; rinsing with cold water can prevent thrips from using your plants as feeding zones. Be mindful about overhead watering with sprinklers, though, as this can cause issues like Mildew and Blight in the garden.
But if you water them in the morning and soak the plants, they have time to dry off in the sun throughout the day. This way, you can control the thrips.
Thrips hate bright light conditions, Usually hiding during the brightest part of the day. We can use this to our advantage and use reflective mulches.
Horticultural plastic is white on one side and black on the other. If you place this down white side up, it will reflect the light into the plant’s canopy. This can significantly help in putting off thrips from hovering over my plants.
Use predatory insects
An excellent way to control thrips is to use predatory insects such as mites (Amblyseius cucumeris and Amblyseius Swiskii) to keep thrips from attacking plants. They are good because they hide at strategic leaf positions, such as the undersides along the veins and inside the petals of mature flowers.
By adding your own cultures, you vastly speed up the process of the predator taking hold in the garden, and this knocks thrips on the head before an infestation can take hold.
Natural techniques for getting rid of thrips
- Yellow Sticky Traps
- Blast with cold water
- Use neem oil extract
- Utilize Diatomaceous earth
- Use predatory insects
- Shake infested plants
- Insecticidal soaps
Use sticky traps
I use yellow Sticky Thrips Leaf Miner Traps since they are non-toxic, and I would say they are the best way to control these pests in a high tunnel or greenhouse. Just hang these traps at a spacing of 6 feet. Make sure they are at the level of your plant foliage. Alternatively, you could place them at the ends and starts of the plant rows in the garden.
The rate at which you should replace the traps depends on the extent of the infestation. If the infestation is too high, frequently replace the traps so that more thrips can be immobilized.
Trap traps are also cheaper than being non-toxic to the soil and food. Cheaper and non-toxic is a very rare combination, but still the best. For best results, I recommend using yellow-colored sticky traps as thrips attract the color yellow.
Blast with cold water
In my garden, the temperatures are relatively high, especially during the summer days, so thrips can survive, and their numbers are very high.
Thrips love the warmth, and while they are cozy on my plants, I surprise them by giving them a burst of cold water to dislodge them from them.
I use this technique in my garden, and the beauty of it is that it performs pretty well, even in large commercial gardens. Heavy rains can help in clearing thrips by scrubbing them from the plants.
WARNING! Do not use boiling water to kill thrips like you would use boiling water to kill weeds.
Use neem oil extracts.
Neem Oil extract is very good at dealing with thrips. It will also eliminate spider mites, aphids, and fungi. It is non-toxic to your soil and food and can be used repeatedly. Use a ratio of 1 ounce of neem oil extract: to 1 gallon of water to get rid of thrips in my garden at home effectively.
Spray mainly in the mornings using a mist sprayer that wets the plant foliage. Ensure to spray both sides of the leaves and into the flowering heads. This kills and dislodges the thrips.
Utilize Diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth is a fantastic product for killing thrips; sprinkle this around the plants on the ground when the thrips drop to the ground to pupate.
Diatomaceous earth will kill them before they can climb back onto the plants.
Use predatory insects
I would encourage using Trichogramma wasps, pirate bugs, ladybugs, lacewings, or the mites classified under the genus Amblyseius since they effectively prevent thrips without having to employ the use of chemical insecticides that might be toxic to both the soil and edible plants.
Shake infested plants
If the plants are thrip infested, shake them off from the leaves or branches. Remember to use a cloth to catch them underneath as they fall off. Thrips will fall onto the damp rags, and you can dispose of them. Better still, place a sticky pad underneath the plants before shaking. This will trap them all right where they fall.
These may sound like a chemical because of the conditioning over the years that insecticides must be chemicals. You can make insecticide soaps in your home using natural ingredients such as vegetable oil. They are non-toxic, cheap, and easy to use.
Without worrying about the aftermath, homemade insecticides will kill most soft-bodied insects, such as thrips, aphids, mealybugs, and many others.
The best time to use insecticide soaps is in both mornings and evenings. Avoid the daytime, as this will create a magnifying glass on the leaves and scorch them.
Two of the very best insecticidal soap I use is Castile soap. This is a baby soap and is a proper soap. Many people think you can use dishwashing detergent, but this detergent is a surfactant that damages your plants and your soil’s life. Stick with natural soaps like Castile soap.
The other that I use all the time is SB Plant Invigorator; this product is fantastic, and not only will it kill all of these insects such as thrips, but it will also kill mildews too, so it’s ideal for dealing with things like powdery mildew.
I use both products and go into much more detail in the video below. Check it out if you’re having problems with thrips and aphids.
Chemical techniques for getting rid of thrips
I am organic in my garden, but I fully appreciate that some people want to buy a product and spray the plants, hoping it will kill everything.
I can safely say it probably will, but I include this in the post as it is a way to control thrips. Hopefully, all the other information will allow you to deal with your issues without using the following.
A pesticide such as the Neudorff BugFree is manufactured using pyrethrins and rapeseed as the main ingredients. Use it in the garden in the evenings to ensure beneficial insects like bees searching for nectar during the day are not killed.
This spray can also pass for organic pest control since its active ingredients are extracted from actual plants; pyrethrins from chrysanthemum flowers and rapeseed from the rapeseed flowering vegetable. I find it very effective since it jeopardizes the entire life cycle of thrips.
Other insecticide sprays are suitable for organic gardening since the pyrethrum is natural. Therefore, pyrethrum pesticides’ toxicity only lasts a few days, making them less harmful.
If neglect gets the better part of them, anyone could quickly lose their edible plants. Thrips are some of the most notorious thieves of plant produce. Therefore, their infestation must be prevented and controlled as soon as possible using the said techniques.
FAQs on Proven Methods, How To Get THRIPS Off Your Plants
How do you know if you have thrips?
Leaves dry and curl on the plants
The petals of flowers are littered with blemishes.
Leaves have yellow blotches from having sap removed.
Excrement on the leaves can be seen.
Thrips can be seen on the leaves and flowers.
Leaves die, curl and take on a silver color.
Can thrips bite humans?
You may have been in your garden for a few hours and come home to find a red, swollen area with a little red dot slapped in the middle. This is usually a trip bite. Thrips only feed on leaves and flowers; however, they occasionally end up on your skin when you brush past the plant. At this point, they will bite humans.
Thrips can be a real pain for the gardener, Damaging flowers and vegetables. They adore the Leek family and have ruined my chances of winning prizes at shows. However, we don’t have to put up with them.
Armed with the information in this blog post, you can storm forward and knock them down as soon as they appear. But remember, this post was written with prevention first. That is a much better way to deal with thrips.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post about Thrips. I trust it answers your question fully. If this interests you, why not consider checking out some of my other blog posts and subscribing so you don’t miss future content?