Thrips are tiny garden insects that are no larger that 1/8 inch long, according to the Bug Spray website. They can be clear, yellow, white, black or brown, but often change colours to blend in with the plants they are on. Thrip damage to plants is evident by holes in the leaves since the thrips chew them with their pincher-like jaws. Controlling thrips is best done using an insecticide containing pyrethrum, also called pyrethrin.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Insecticide with pyrethrum
- Garden sprayer
Go to a nursery, garden centre or home improvement store and look for an insecticide that contains pyrethrum as one of the primary ingredients. Pyrethrum is considered an organic insecticide and is most commonly found near the garden and vegetable pest treatments. If you are killing thrips on edible plants, make sure the pyrethrum has not been mixed with other toxic chemicals.
Pour 1 gallon of water into a garden sprayer and add the amount of the pyrethrum insecticide mixture as directed on the insecticide label. You do not need very much pyrethrum, so the amount will usually be no more than 3 to 4 tsp.
Place the top of the garden sprayer on and rock the sprayer gently to mix the solution.
Point the nozzle of the garden sprayer at the infected plant and squeeze the trigger to begin dispensing the pyrethrum onto the plant. Make sure to spray both the tops and bottoms of the leaves, as well as the entire stem.
Spray any mulch or ground covering directly below the infected plants, since this is where many of the young thrips live until they reach adulthood.
Wait two days and look for signs of thrip activity. If any live thrips are seen, respray the entire plant and the mulch with the insecticide.
Tips and warnings
- Although pyrethrum is not toxic to people or pets, it is best to avoid the treatment location and prevent pets from accessing the plants.
- You should act quickly to kill thrips since they can grow from egg to adulthood in only two weeks.
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