Thrips are tiny, winged insects that can cause damage to indoor plants. They feed on plant leaves, flowers, and fruits, leaving behind unsightly silver or white streaks on foliage and distorted growth. Because of this, you need to know how to get rid of them to keep your plants safe and healthy.
If left untreated, thrips can quickly infest an entire indoor garden and cause significant damage to your plants. If you’ve noticed these pests on your indoor plants, you’re probably wondering how to get rid of them.
This blog post will cover the different methods for controlling thrips indoors, including natural and chemical options. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or new to indoor plant care, you’ll find helpful tips and tricks for keeping your plants thrips-free.
What are Thrips?
Thrips are tiny, winged insects that belong to the order Thysanoptera, commonly found in gardens, greenhouses, and indoor plants. They are known for their ability to damage plants by feeding on the leaves and flowers, causing discoloration, distortion, and stunted growth.
Thrips are also known to transmit plant diseases, making them a serious pest problem for many gardeners and farmers. They are typically small, measuring between 0.5 and 2 mm in length, and can be in various colors, including yellow, brown, and black. They have long, thin antennae and fringed wings.
Thrips are often difficult to control due to their small size and ability to hide in crevices and leaf folds. Control methods include using insecticides, trapping, and using beneficial insects such as ladybugs or lacewings.
Where do Thrips Come From?
Thrips are a type of insect native to many regions worldwide, including North America, Europe, and Asia. They are found in various habitats, including forests, grasslands, and gardens.
Some species of thrips are also known to migrate long distances, which can lead to the spread of the insects to new areas. Additionally, thrips can be inadvertently transported to new locations via human activity, such as through the trade of plants or other agricultural products.
Thrips are commonly found in gardens, greenhouses, and agricultural fields and can also be found in homes and other indoor spaces. They can also be transported by wind, hitchhiking on plants, or other insects such as ants.
What causes thrips on houseplants
Thrips are attracted to stressed, damaged, or overcrowded plants and can be brought into the home on newly purchased plants or through open doors and windows. They can also be carried by pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
Proper care of plants, including regular watering and fertilization, and regular monitoring for pests, can help prevent thrips infestations.
They can also be transported on clothing, tools, or other objects that come into contact with infested plants. Additionally, thrips can be brought into a home on purchased plants that are already infested. Once they are inside, they can spread to other houseplants.
What Houseplants do Thrips Like?
Thrips feed on many types of plants, so be prepared to find them on any of your houseplants. They suck the sap out of the leaves, stems, flowers, and flower buds. Thrips are a common pest that can infest a variety of houseplants. Some of the most common houseplants that thrip like include:
- African violets
- Gerbera daisies
- Spider plants
- Spider plants
- Tomatoes (when grown indoors)
It’s important to note that thrips can infest any houseplant, so it’s important to be vigilant and inspect your plants regularly for signs of infestation. Also, note that thrips can infest outdoor plants, so watching them on all indoor and outdoor plants is important.
How do you know if you have thrips on houseplants?
Thrips on houseplants can be difficult to spot, but there are a few signs that you can look for to determine if your plants are infested:
- Visual inspection: Thrips are small, slender insects that measure about 1-2 mm in length. They are typically dark in color, ranging from black to brown or yellow. They can be difficult to spot, but you may notice them crawling on the leaves or flowers of your plants.
- Distorted growth: Thrips can cause the growth of your plants to become distorted or stunted.
- Frayed or curled leaves: Thrips will also feed on the edges of leaves, causing them to become frayed or curled.
- Silver or white specks: Thrips leave a silvery or white residue on the leaves of your plants. This is a sign of heavy infestation.
- Damage to leaves: Thrips can cause damage to the leaves of your plants by feeding on the sap, resulting in discoloration, wilting, or curling of the leaves.
- Presence of frass: Frass is the excrement of thrips and can look like small, black specs on the leaves or flowers of your plants.
- Sticky residue: Thrips can also leave a sticky residue on the leaves and flowers of your plants, which can attract other insects.
- Plant growth stunting: Thrips can also cause stunted growth in plants.
If you notice these signs on your houseplants, they are likely infested with thrips. It is important to control the infestation as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your plants.
Thrips Damage on Houseplants
Thrips are small, slender insects that feed on the sap of plants, causing damage to leaves, flowers, and fruit. They are commonly found on houseplants and can cause wilting, discoloration, and distortion of leaves. Thrips also leave behind small, black fecal spots on the leaves and flowers of the plant.
In severe infestations, the plant may become stunted or even die. To control thrips on houseplants, it is important to regularly inspect the plant for signs of infestation and remove any affected leaves or flowers.
There are many effective organic methods that can be used to get rid of these pesky pests, but chemical pesticides can also be used. Still, it is important to follow the label’s instructions and avoid using pesticides near food or in areas where children or pets may contact them.
Additionally, introducing natural predators such as ladybugs or lacewings can help control thrips populations.
Pesticides to get rid of thrips
Chemical pesticides are one the fastest means of getting rid of thrips and making plants healthy. These pesticides are formulated to eliminate thrips when sprayed on infested plants. There are many ready-to-use pesticides for this purpose, and below are some of the best for this purpose.
Garden Safe Houseplant and Garden Insect Killer
The Garden Safe houseplant and garden insect killer is a pesticide that kills common insects that can harm houseplants and gardens. It is made with an active ingredient called pyrethrin, derived from the chrysanthemum flower.
This insecticide is safe for indoor and outdoor plants, including vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs. It can control pests such as aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and whiteflies.
The insecticide comes in a convenient spray bottle that makes it easy to apply to plants. It is also safe for use around children and pets when used as directed.
Natural Guard Spinosad Soap
Natural Guard Spinosad Soap is an insecticidal soap made from the active ingredient spinosad, a naturally-occurring compound derived from a soil bacterium.
It is effective against many soft-bodied insects, including aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies. The soap acts by penetrating the insect’s exoskeleton and disrupting the normal functioning of its nervous system, causing death.
It is safe for vegetables, fruits, and ornamental plants and can be applied as a foliar spray or a direct application to insects. It is also biodegradable and non-toxic to mammals and beneficial insects.
Natural Guard Spinosad Soap is a reliable and effective solution for controlling pests in my garden. It is easy to use, safe and has provided excellent results in controlling a wide range of pests.
How to Get Rid of Thrips on Houseplants
There are several organic ways to get rid of thrips on houseplants:
Use water and dish soap:
To get rid of thrips on houseplants:
- Mix a solution of water and dish soap.
- Use a ratio of about five tablespoons of dish soap to 1 gallon of water.
- Use a spray bottle to apply the solution to the affected plants, making sure to coat the tops and bottoms of the leaves thoroughly.
- Allow the solution to sit on the plant for at least 10 minutes to allow the soap to work on the thrips.
- Rinse the plant thoroughly with water to remove any remaining soap residue.
- Repeat the process once a week until the thrips are no longer present on the plant.
- Repeat the treatment every 3-5 days until the thrips are gone.
To prevent future infestations, regularly check your plants for signs of thrips and take action immediately if you notice any. Keep the area around your plants clean and free of debris, as thrips are attracted to dirty environments.
Use Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is a natural pest control solution that can effectively get rid of thrips on houseplants. Here’s how to use it:
- Purchase food-grade diatomaceous earth, as this is safe for use on plants.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of diatomaceous earth with 1 gallon of water. Shake or stir well to ensure that the powder is fully dissolved.
- Spray the solution on your houseplants’ leaves, stems, and soil. Be sure to cover all areas where thrips may be hiding.
- Repeat the process every 3-4 days for 2-3 weeks. This will ensure that any newly hatched thrips are also eliminated.
- Keep an eye on your plants, and if thrips appear again, repeat the process.
It’s important to note that diatomaceous earth can dry out the leaves of your plants, so be sure to mist your plants with water before applying the solution and after the application. Also, make sure to wear a mask and gloves when working with diatomaceous earth.
Introduce beneficial insects
One way to get rid of thrips on houseplants is by introducing beneficial insects. Beneficial insects are natural predators of thrips and can help to control their population. Some beneficial insects that can be used to control thrips include ladybugs, lacewings, and predatory mites.
Ladybugs are known to consume thrips and other small insects. They can be purchased and released into the area where the thrips are. Lacewings are also effective predators of thrips and can be introduced to the area in the same way.
Predatory mites are another beneficial insect that can be used to control thrips. These tiny mites feed on thrips and other small insects and can be purchased and introduced to the area.
It’s important to note that these beneficial insects may not completely eliminate the thrips, but they can help control their population.
It’s also important to regularly monitor the plants and take action if the thrips population begins to increase again. When using this methods you may want to avoid using pesticides is important as they can kill beneficial insects.
Use Hydrogen Peroxide
- Mix hydrogen peroxide and water in a spray bottle at a ratio of 1:4 (1 part hydrogen peroxide to 4 parts water).
- Spray the solution directly onto the affected areas of the houseplants, making sure to coat the leaves thoroughly and stems.
- Repeat the process every 3-4 days a week to eliminate all thrips.
- Monitor the plants for signs of thrips and continue spraying as needed until the infestation is completely gone.
- Be sure to test a small area of the plant first before applying the solution to the entire plant, as some plants may be sensitive to hydrogen peroxide.
- Remember to wear gloves and avoid spraying the solution on any open wounds or buds of the plant.
- After treatment, rinse the plants with water to remove any residue.
- To prevent future infestations, keep the plants clean and dry and regularly check for any signs of thrips.
Make a garlic spray
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of dish soap
- Peel and mince the garlic cloves.
- In a blender, blend the minced garlic with 1 cup of water until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into a spray bottle.
- Add 1 tablespoon of dish soap to the spray bottle and shake well.
- Spray the mixture on all parts of the affected houseplants, including the leaves and stems.
- Repeat the process every 2-3 days until the thrips are gone.
- Avoid spraying the mixture directly on the flowers of the plants, as it may damage them.
- Discard the remaining mixture after use and make a fresh batch for the next application.
Use neem oil
Neem oil is a natural insecticide that can control thrips on houseplants. It can be applied as a spray or added to the soil.
- Start by mixing neem oil with water in a spray bottle. The general ratio is 2-3 teaspoons of neem oil per 1 quart of water. Shake the bottle well to ensure the oil is fully mixed with the water.
- Spray the solution on all parts of the affected houseplants, including the leaves, stems, and roots. Make sure to coat all plant surfaces, including the leaves undersides.
- Repeat the spraying process every 3-4 days for 2-3 weeks. This will help to break the thrips’ life cycle and prevent them from reproducing.
- In addition to spraying the plants, you can also spray the surrounding areas where the thrips may be hiding. This includes the soil, pot, and any nearby surfaces.
- To prevent future infestations, make sure to keep the area around your houseplants clean and free of debris. This will make it harder for thrips to find a place to hide and reproduce.
- You can also use yellow sticky traps to catch adult thrips. Place them around your houseplants and check them regularly to see if any thrips are caught on them.
- Keep an eye on your houseplants for signs of thrips, including distorted leaves, small white spots, and silver or black speckling. Immediately prevent the thrips from spreading if you notice any of these signs.
Keep plants healthy:
One of the most important ways to get rid of thrips on houseplants is to keep the plants healthy. Thrips are attracted to weak and stressed plants, so keeping your plants well-nourished and well-watered can help prevent an infestation.
Here are some steps you can take to keep your plants healthy and reduce the risk of thrips:
- Provide the right amount of light: Make sure your plants get the right light for their specific needs. Thrips thrive in low light conditions, so providing bright, indirect light can help keep them away.
- Water properly: Overwatering or underwatering your plants can cause stress, which can attract thrips. Ensure to provide the right amount of water for your specific plant species.
- Fertilize regularly: Regularly fertilizing your plants can help keep them healthy and strong, which can make them less attractive to thrips.
- Keep the area clean: Thrips can also be attracted to dirty or cluttered areas. Keep the area around your plants clean and free of debris to reduce the risk of an infestation.
- Check for infestations regularly: Regularly inspecting your plants for signs of thrips can help you catch an infestation early before it becomes a bigger problem.
Following these steps can help keep your plants healthy and reduce the risk of thrips. If you do notice an infestation, there are several methods you can use to get rid of thrips on houseplants, such as using insecticidal soap or neem oil.
Use sticky traps:
Sticky traps can be an effective way to control thrips on houseplants. Here are a few steps to follow:
- Purchase sticky traps from a garden center or online. These can be found in various colors and shapes.
- Place the sticky traps near your houseplants, making sure to place them near the areas where you have noticed thrips.
- Monitor the traps daily and dispose of any thrips caught on them.
- Repeat the process as necessary until you no longer see thrips on your houseplants.
It’s important to note that sticky traps are not a replacement for a proper pest control program and should be used alongside other methods to control thrips on houseplants. Additionally, you should be aware of the traps’ location and refrain from placing them in areas where children or pets could reach them.
It’s important to note that some of these methods may take time to take effect, so be patient and persistent in your efforts to get rid of thrips.
How to Prevent Thrips on Indoor Plants
Thrips are most active during the spring and summer and can be difficult to control once they have infested a plant. However, there are several steps you can take to prevent thrips from attacking your indoor plants.
- Keep plants healthy: Thrips are attracted to weak or stressed plants, so keep them healthy by providing them with the right amount of light, water, and nutrients.
- Keep the area clean: Thrips thrive in dirty and cluttered environments, so keep your indoor plants clean by regularly wiping down the leaves and removing any debris from the soil.
- Use neem oil: Neem oil is a natural pesticide that can be used to control thrips. Mix a small amount of neem oil with water and spray it on your plants to kill thrips and other pests.
- Keep the humidity low: Thrips thrive in high humidity, so keep the humidity in your indoor space low to discourage thrips from reproducing.
- Use beneficial insects: Beneficial insects such as ladybugs and lacewings can help control thrips by eating them. Introduce these insects to your indoor space to help control thrips populations.
Following these steps can help prevent thrips from attacking indoor plants and keep your plants healthy and beautiful. Remember to be patient and persistent, as it may take time to eliminate the thrips infestation.
FAQs About Thrips
Do thrips bite people?
Thrips are tiny insects that are commonly found in gardens and outdoor spaces. They are known to feed on plants and can cause damage to foliage and flowers. However, many people wonder if thrips bite people as well.
The short answer is no; thrips do not bite people. These insects lack the mouthparts necessary to bite or sting humans. They have small, needle-like mouthparts that they use to feed on plants. They do not have the ability to bite or sting people.
However, thrips can still cause problems for people. They are known to be a nuisance and can cause itchy skin reactions in some individuals. Additionally, thrips can spread plant diseases and can cause damage to crops and gardens.
Do thrips fly?
Thrips are small, slender insects that belong to the order Thysanoptera. They are known for their unique wing structure, composed of two pairs of wings fringed with long, thin bristles. These insects are found in many habitats, including gardens, fields, and forests, and they feed on various plants, including flowers, fruits, and vegetables.
One of the most notable characteristics of thrips is their ability to fly. These insects have two pairs of wings used for propulsion and maneuverability. The front wings, known as the tegmina, are thick and leathery, while the hind wings are thin and translucent. The tegmina are used to control the insect’s direction of flight, while the hind wings are used to generate lift and propulsion.
Thrips can fly at high speeds and are highly maneuverable, making them difficult to catch. They can also fly in tight spaces and navigate through narrow openings in plants and flowers. This allows them to access areas other insects cannot reach, making them difficult to control.
How long do thrips live?
Thrips are small, slender insects that typically live for several weeks to a few months. The exact lifespan of a thrip depends on the species and the environmental conditions in which it lives.
For example, some species of thrips have a lifespan of only a few weeks, while others can live for several months. Additionally, thrips that live in more favorable conditions, such as warm temperatures and high humidity, may have a longer lifespan than those that live in harsher conditions.
Thrips can be a frustrating pest to deal with indoors. However, with the right combination of preventative measures and treatment options, you can eliminate thrips and keep them from returning. Some key steps to take include:
- Regularly inspecting and cleaning plants to remove any thrips or their eggs
- Implementing physical barriers such as sticky traps or screens to prevent thrips from entering your home
- Using neem oil or insecticidal soap to kill thrips and their eggs on contact
- Considering using beneficial insects such as ladybugs or predatory mites to help control thrips populations
By following these steps and being vigilant about monitoring for thrips, you can enjoy healthy, thriving plants without the hassle of these pesky insects.