Thrips Update in South Florida Crops

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Thrips are reported to be observed at low to moderate levels overall in southwest Florida, according to the South Florida Pest and Disease Hotline.

Thrips Update

Thrips palmi populations are at moderate levels and increasing. Populations are dense enough that they are causing some leaf and fruit scarring in some crops. Populations remain low in beans.

Asian bean thrips are the dominate species and populations are high in Homestead, Florida. However, there has also been a noticeable increase in western flower thrips and melon thrips. Western flower thrips and melon thrips are also being commonly reported in peppers. Thrips are high overall in tomatoes, and increasing western flower thrips and tomato thrips are causing new incidence of Tospo virus.

Cultural practices can be effective in reducing thrips population. Reflective plastic mulch can repel the virus carrying thrips. Producers should avoid planting tomato within 1,000 feet of an ornamental nursery, whose plants can serve as hosts to flower thrips.

Producers should also avoid using insecticide unless they are 100% sure about the status of the thrips on the crop. Some thrips can be harmless or even beneficial. Only plan your IPM program once the species is confirmed to be harmful.

Growers should scout their fields regularly to confirm the level of infestation. Only if populations are below threshold levels should growers use softer products which will reduce the impact on beneficial insects.

Radiant SC (spinetoram) is an effective thrips management tool, with Exirel (cyantraniliprole), Torac (tolfenpyrad), Assail (acetamiprid) and Sivanto Prime (flupyradifurone) serving as rotational partners. 

Source: South Florida Pest and Disease Hotline