What Do Thrips Look Like and How To Control Them

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Last Updated on February 15, 2022 by

Do you know what do thrips look like?  These pests are common and destructive for many gardeners but many do not recognize how they look like.

Thrips are a houseplant pest that is seriously destructive and should be taken seriously and eliminated with the first notice.  These pests can infest a plant at a fast rate and cause severe damage within a short time.

Thrips and spider mites are some of the few pests that will make you throw away a plant because they have overpowered you.  However, if you notice it early and act at once, you can save your plants.  The white thrips are the most common of thrips to find in most plants.  They come in large numbers and infest plants at a younger age.

Let’s learn how to identify white thrip infestation early enough to fight it off and rescue your houseplants.

What Do Thrips Look Like?

Thrips are tiny insects with slim bodies and have the shape of a grain of rice, except they are much smaller than the rice. They measure over a quarter–inch in length when adults.  They are either yellow, white, or brownish.  Thrips is a name used to refer both to a single insect and a group of insects.

These insects suck the sap out of a plant, damaging the plant in the process.  They also carry viruses that they pass on from plant to plant during the feeding process.

What Do Thrips Look Like

Thrips reproduce fast, reaching adulthood in about 2 weeks.  Once they are mature, the females can lay eggs daily, and the eggs hatch within 3 to 4 days, developing into a large infestation in a short amount of time.

Some varieties have fringed wings, but they are not strong fliers, while others have vestigial wings that do not work at all.  Thrips have over 4500 species, with some indications showing around 6,000 of them.

Signs To Look For Thrips In Your Plants

There are significant symptoms to look out for if you suspect you have thrips in your plants. They include

  • Thrips damage on leaves looks like tiny, discolored spots from thrips feeding on the plant.
  • Small, rice-like flecks on your plants that you can barely notice with your naked eye
  • Mature plants’ growth may become deformed.
  • New growth looks twisted, deformed, or wonky.
  • Leaves appear to have a silvery look.
  • Tiny black specs on the leaf surface this is waste that is left behind by thrips.

Identifying these pests can be made easy by using a magnifying glass to take a closer look at what is happening on the plant.

The Life Cycle Of Thrips

Thrips females can produce eggs asexually even if they lack a mate.  They eat or drill a hollow part in a plant where they lay eggs, keeping them away from potential predators.  The plant’s soft tissue provides a home for these eggs, shielding them from harsh weather conditions. Here they hatch and enjoy the food source at hand.

Most of the thrips go through 2 larvae stages as nymphs before becoming fully mature adults.  This process takes about 8 to 15 days during warm weather and a month-long in colder weather seasons.  The average lifespan for these pests is about 45 days, but they reproduce in significant numbers.

During the cold winter months, thrips bury themselves underground or under leaf covers or occasionally hide in walls or houses or sheltered parts of fences.

In the warmer months of the year, they live on and around the plants that they eat.  You will often find them on trees, both in the leaves and barks sucking out the sap.  On other plants, it will be in the stems or leaves, or flowers.

How To Control Thrips?

  1. Provide Adequate Water For Your Plants.  Both spider mites and thrips target plants that have been left to dry up or are under-watered.  To prevent these pests from coming near your plants, water them regularly to prevent them from suffering dry conditions.
  2. Give Your Plants Regular Showers.  Showering your plants once in a while in a sink helps wash off a good number of pests that are attempting to make your plant their home.  Washing your plant removes dust and any other effects on the leaves, allowing them to breathe and photosynthesize at total capacity.
  3. Use An Insecticidal Spray.  When you spray this solution, make sure you coat your plant thoroughly.  Spray a few times over a couple of weeks to continually eliminate these pests and their eggs.
  4. Use Beneficial Insects. If you don’t want to introduce chemicals to your plants, you can use the biological control method.  This method introduces beneficial insects to help you eliminate these destructive pests. These beneficial insects include Green lacewings, minute pirate bugs, predator mites, and ladybugs.

Monterey LG6135 Garden Insect Spray, Insecticide & Pesticide with Spinosad Concentrate, 32 oz

You can buy these beneficial insects online, and they are shipped directly to your house.  Once you receive them, release them to the affected plants, and you will notice a change within a short time.

DIY Spray Options To Get Rid Of Thrips

Solution 1:  Neem oil and insecticidal soap – homemade spray for small infestations.

Mix 17 ounces of water with 5 tsp neem oil and .75 tsp mild dish soap in a spray bottle.

Once ready, test on a small portion of the plant first to make sure it will tolerate the spray. Some plants are sensitive and might react to the solution. If none is sensitive, cover the whole plant with this spray solution.

Solution 2:  Rubbing Alcohol and Soap – homemade Spray for small infestations.

Mix 4 ounces of rubbing alcohol with 1.5 tsp mild dish soap and 16 ounces water in a spray bottle.

Spray your plants with the solution covering every part to ensure you treat each part well.


What does a thrips infestation look like?

A thrips infestation is a small insect that can easily be seen with the naked eye. Thrips are tiny, about half-an-inch in length and can be identified by the three pairs of legs they have, the first pair being very short and curved. They are also known as spider or wolf-bait, as they feed on the leaves of plants and cause damage to the plants they feed on.

Thrips are most commonly found in the spring and summer months and are usually associated with the outdoors. They are not considered harmful to humans and they do not bite, so there is no need for any form of treatment. It is more important to remove the source of the problem, such as fallen leaves, garden debris, or plant debris.

The signs of thrips include: The presence of white spots on the undersides of leaves Small black dots on the undersides of leaves Thrips can also cause some fruit to rot The best way to control thrips is to keep your garden clean. This will not only reduce the chances of you having a pest problem, but it will also make your garden look good.

What is the best way to get rid of thrips?

Thrips are a large group of tiny insects, but their biology is very complex and there are many different species. You will need to know what you have in your garden in order to choose an appropriate method of control.

There are a number of ways to control thrips in a garden.

The most effective way to control thrips is to use a good quality, natural insecticide. I would recommend using an organic pesticide that contains thiamethoxam. It is a very effective natural insecticide. It will not kill beneficial insects, but it will control pests. The label will say "Use only for outdoor use. Do not apply to areas where children or pets are likely to walk." If you do use it indoors, the label will say "Only when needed" and will have directions on how to spray. It's best to spray outdoors at dusk. You can also use a product called "Thrips Away". It is a granular product that you can sprinkle around plants. It's great for controlling thrips and other soft-bodied insects.

These products may kill the adult, but the larvae survive and continue to feed on the leaves of plants. You can spray the foliage or spray the soil around plants.

A second approach is biological control, which uses parasitic wasps and other natural enemies to attack the insects. Another way to control thrips is with traps.

How should I keep my garden clean?

Thrips can cause a lot of damage to gardens. They can also cause problems with fruit. Thrips are small, slender insects that feed on plant juices. The damage they do is often not immediately obvious. The first sign of thrips is white spots on the underside of leaves.

Use the following tips:

Sweep up leaves and debris regularly. Remove weeds as soon as they are spotted. Keep grass short and mowed. Use mulch to suppress weeds.

Thrips can cause a lot of damage to gardens. They can also cause problems with fruit. Thrips are small, slender insects that feed on plant juices. The damage they do is often not immediately obvious. The first sign of thrips is white spots on the underside of leaves.

Are thrips hard to get rid of?

The short answer is no. Thrips are not particularly difficult to control, and in most cases it is simply a matter of having a clean, well-ventilated greenhouse. Thrips are not usually a major problem, but if they get out of hand, there are several options for controlling them.

The simplest option is to keep your greenhouse free of clutter and debris, including leaves on the ground. Thrips will be attracted to any debris on the floor or walls. In addition, they will like to feed on pollen and nectar. Keep your greenhouse clean so that these food sources are readily available.

Why do thrips bother plants?

Thrips eat plant sap, which makes them a serious pest for certain crops, especially tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. They also like to feed on flowers and buds.

How do I prevent my home from being overrun with thrips?

Remove any sources of water that thrips can drink. Make sure your air conditioner is working properly, and check the vents to make sure they are free of debris and are not blocked by dirt or other insects.

Do thrips spread to other plants?

Thrips can spread to new hosts via their feeding on pollen and nectar.


Now that we know what thrips look like and their effect on your plants, it’s best to eliminate them as early as we notice them on the plants.

The best time to deal with either pests or diseases is right at the start of the problem. Take a step now! If you wait too long, you could just be waiting for more trouble.

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