April 2024 First Friday with Florida First Detector

Recap of April 2024 First Friday with Florida First Detector

In April, we took a closer look at the pest group thrips (Order: Thysanoptera). While there are over 7,000 species of thrips around the world, only a handful of them are pests on plants. Most thrips feed on fungi or decaying matter like leaf litter. Thrips can be distinguished from other insects by their fringed wings. They have unique rasping mouthparts which lead to damage like leaf discoloration, leaf distortion, abortion of flowers or buds, plant stunting and more. For the species that do feed on plants, they can feed on leaves, buds, flowers or fruit. Some thrips species can also vector plant pathogens like tospoviruses.

While we covered several thrips species in the webinar, we spent quite a bit of time on Thrips parvispinus. While native to Asia, this species has been found in other parts of the world, including parts of Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and Hawaii. This species was recently first detected in Florida in 2020 in Orange County. It has since been found in several other areas in Florida, but we are still learning about where it has spread. Thrips parvispinus causes damage to vegetable, ornamental, and fruit crops. This pest has caused damage to the Gardenia and Mandevilla production in south Florida. Thrips parvispinus is a regulated pest by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry (FDACS-DPI).

Since thrips are very small, they are often hard to detect on plant material. When plants are moved to new locations, thrips may also be moved. Many detections of new thrips species in Florida are on plant shipments. If you are seeing unusual pests, especially something you haven’t seen before, connect with your local county extension office. It may be the first time it is found in the state! By catching it early, we may be able to eradicate it or stop it from further spreading.

Resources on invasive thrips

Want to watch the recording?

What is the upcoming schedule?

We are meeting online via Zoom from 12:00PM-1:00PM on the First Friday of every month from Sept 2022-Aug 2024. Please visit this blog for registration information and the upcoming schedule for Sept 2023-2024.


Contact Dr. Morgan Pinkerton, morgan0402@ufl.edu


Visit the Florida First Detector Website


Posted: April 8, 2024

Category: AGRICULTURE, Crops, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Fruits & Vegetables, HOME LANDSCAPES, Horticulture, Invasive Species, Natural Resources, Pests & Disease, Pests & Disease, Professional Development, UF/IFAS Extension, UF/IFAS Teaching
Tags: Biosecurity, FFD23-24, FloridaFirstDetector, Invasive Species, Ornamental Plants, Pest Alert, SeminoleCountyAg, Thrips

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