Tackling the Challenge of Thrips in Greenhouse Pest Management


In the early 2000s, I worked as a professional scout in a greenhouse and operated an integrated pest management program. My role involved scouting over 300 different species of food crops, exposing me to a myriad of pest species. Among these challenges, thrips stood out as one of the most difficult pests to control due to their elusive behavior and rapid reproduction rates. In this blog post, I will briefly mention why thrips are so difficult to control and share an invaluable resource I recently discovered that can help you effectively manage thrips in your greenhouse or nursery.

Understanding the Persistence of Thrips:

Thrips have a remarkable ability to evade pesticide applications due to their preference for the undersides and hidden nooks of leaves. This behavior provides them with a natural shield against traditional insecticide treatments. Furthermore, thrips undergo a pupal stage as part of their life cycle, during which they drop to the soil. This unique aspect of their development makes it even harder to control them through typical leaf-based pesticide applications.  Consequently, the pupal stage, not exposed to the pesticide treatment, remains unaffected.

Challenges with Thrips Reproduction and Pesticide Resistance:

Thrips have a short lifecycle, allowing them to reproduce rapidly, increasing their potential for pesticide resistance. Overusing the same insecticide mode of action on the same crop can lead to thrips developing resistance, further complicating control efforts. This resistance development necessitates the adoption of strategic management efforts to ensure long-term effectiveness in combating thrips infestations.

A Game-Changing Resource for Thrips Management:

Recently, I came across an invaluable resource developed by entomologists from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. This publication offers an in-depth overview of problematic thrips species and the damage they cause. However, its value lies in the comprehensive key it provides, enabling you to customize a thrips management program tailored to your crop’s specific needs.

Utilizing the Thrips Management Key:

The key presents a series of questions to assess your thrips infestation, including their presence, severity of infestation, and the use of biological control agents. Based on your responses, the key guides you towards the most appropriate control measures. This targeted approach ensures that your efforts are not wasted on ineffective methods and helps you implement a more efficient and sustainable thrips management program.

As someone who struggled to manage thrips in the past, I wish I had access to this resource twenty years ago. Its user-friendly format and actionable insights empower greenhouse and nursery managers to combat thrips effectively. I encourage you to explore the resource and integrate its guidance into your pest management practices.


Thrips remain a formidable challenge for greenhouse operators due to their elusive behavior, rapid reproduction, and pesticide resistance. However, armed with the right knowledge and tools, such as the thrips management key from the University of Florida, you can enhance your pest management efforts and protect your crops more effectively. By staying informed and proactive, we can create healthier environments for our plants and achieve greater success in thrips control.

Resource Link: Thrips Management for Horticultural Crops

This article was edited and formatted using ChatGPT Title: GPT-3.5 (ChatGPT) Provider: OpenAI URL: https://openai.com Accessed: 07/17/2023.


Posted: July 17, 2023

Category: AGRICULTURE, Crops, Horticulture, Pests & Disease

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