Skip to main content

Sugarcane Thrips (Fulmekiola serrata) Discovered in Florida

Sugarcane thrips (Fulmekiola serrata) is an important pest of Sugarcane and is native to East Asia but has been introduced to South Africa, Madagascar and the West Indies. This pest was discovered in Glades and Hendry counties in Florida in 2017. The primary host of this pest is Sugarcane, but it has been known to feed on other grasses. These thrips feed directly on the leaves and may reduce sugarcane sucrose yield by up to 24 percent. Infestation of F. serrata is characterized by brown, dried leaf tips and yellow blotches and streaks.

As far as thrips go, F. serrata is fairly distinctive. The body is brown and the wings are dusky black. An easy way to monitor for this pest is to put out blue sticky traps around and within the crop.

Click here to read the full FDACS article.

Photo by Yu Yan-Fen, Adult female F. serrata

Photo by Yu Yan-Fen Symptoms on leaves caused by F. serrata, showing silvery patches and streaks.

Photo by Yu Yan-Fen
Damage on leaves caused by F. serrata, showing longitudinal roll, yellow patches and streaks.