Management Methods for Flower Thrips

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By Alison DeLoach

Since flower thrips have been causing concerns for Georgia’s blueberry growers, the pest was a topic discussed at the Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference.

Renee talks about Gall Midge

At the conference, Renee Allen, area blueberry agent with the University of Georgia (UGA), presented research on flower thrips and management recommendations for growers.

According to Allen, research was conducted in New Jersey on northern highbush blueberries using different colored sticky traps. The results revealed white sticky traps were more attractive to thrips than yellow or blue sticky traps. It was also discovered that the largest number of thrips were caught on traps in the middle and top third of the canopy, while the least amount of thrips were caught in the bottom third of the canopy.

In addition to the testing in New Jersey, Dr. Ash Sial Ahmad, integrated pest management coordinator and blueberry entomologist at UGA, researched thresholds of flower thrips and when they become problematic to the plant. Allen presented Sial’s recommendations based on findings from his research. “He recommends that if you have  less than two thrips per bloom that you tend to be okay on your pest  level,” she said. “But if you have greater than two thrips per bloom, they can become problematic. And definitely if have greater than six thrips per bloom, they can become very injurious to the plant.”

For control of flower thrips, Allen said Sial recommends the use of diazinon early in the season and to adjust spray timing to protect pollinators.

Hear Allen’s full interview with Tacy Callies, VSCNews editor: