Because they prey on plant-damaging bugs and pests, thrips are generally considered beneficial insects. However, some types of these tiny, winged insects also feed on leaves, buds, and flowers and so wreak havoc in your garden. If your plants are infested with thrips, you need to act fast and control them. Here are some ways to do that.
Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of thrip infestation. Before putting in place control methods, you must first get familiar with the symptoms of thrip infestation. This will help you know if the damages in your plants are indeed caused by thrips or some other insects. The leaves of a thrip-infested plant turn into paler green and have shiny silvery surface. The buds, on the other hand, are damaged. If at all they bloom, you would see distortions in their form and perhaps crawling thrips. The flowers may also have thrips’ droppings, which leave them with black spots.
Prune your plants. Once you are sure your plants are suffering from thrip infestation, you must immediately prune them. Cut off the damaged parts, including the leaves, flowers, and buds. Make sure to properly dispose of the damaged parts, so they won’t invite other pests and bugs that might infest your plants.
Clean the garden. One of the most economical ways to control thrip infestation is to keep your garden clean. Sweep away plant debris, dried leaves, and other stuff thrips might like to settle in. Thrips particularly are prone to over-wintering, which is why you need to take away all their potential habitats.
Use insecticidal soap. Insecticidal soap is believed to be less toxic than other insect control treatments, so this will work well on your plants. You can buy insecticidal soap from your local garden store or nursery and apply it at least two to three days for a whole month. To be safe, ask a local nurseryman for application recommendations. Likewise, make sure to use the insecticidal soap according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Do not make guesses on the amount to be used or on the interval of the application.
Make a garlic spray. Garlic is one of the organic control treatments that are found effective on thrips. Although you can buy garlic spray products from garden and online stores, making your own can help you save some dollars and ensure you of a hundred percent natural concoction. To make your own garlic spray, puree three bulbs of garlic in a blender with around four cups of water. Filter to remove any chunks. Then, pour a few more cups of water to make a concentrate. Keep the garlic spray concentrate in a tightly sealed container. Whenever you need to apply the spray, pour ¼ cup of garlic spray concentrate and a gallon of water into a spray bottle. Shake it well and mist to the thrip-infested plants.
You might also want to try what many gardeners do. They introduce lady bugs to their gardens, which feed on thrips and eventually eliminate the said insects. Make sure, however, to release only enough number of lady bugs. Too many lady bugs might cause infestation and give you another problem to deal with.