What Are Thrips On Houseplants

Thrips, which have a very small body and are straw-colored with extremely tiny, feathery wings, are a common pest of houseplants. Since they are so little, it may be difficult to see them with the naked eye. However, they can occasionally be distinguished by an active line that moves across the leaf’s veins when it is disturbed. A thrips infestation may also be indicated by blotchy reddish brown discolouration. Since they are no natural predators in areas where people live, they can reproduce asexually and inflict serious harm. Thrips are arguably the most difficult household pest to control of all the regular houseplant pests.

As you check on your plant on a regular basis, be sure to pay close attention to the undersides of the leaves because here is where many of the most frequent houseplant pests live. The leaves are at their most delicate and succulent here, and you can watch suckers like thrips at work.

Thrips acting like thrips. Look at the poop droplet it leaves behind. One method to determine a thrips infection is by these little black patches. Lauren Sottile’s video.

The first step in treating a plant for thrips is to hose it out under the kitchen or shower tap to flush the pests away. Be careful not to let the runoff overwater the land. If moving the plant to a water source is not an option, spritz and wipe each leaf with a spray bottle and microfiber cloth. Use an insecticide afterward, like neem oil. Neem oil is a natural insecticide and leaf shine that has been used on both outdoor and indoor plants for hundreds of years. The best part is that it doesn’t harm animals, birds, or a variety of helpful insects. Neem oil and water should be combined before being sprayed onto the plant. After it has rested for five to ten minutes, wipe the leaves clean.

Neem oil won’t stop major infestations, so a stronger remedy to think about is an insecticidal soap. When the insects are present, fully cover all of the surfaces of the plant with the solution and repeat every 10 days until no longer any insects are visible. Please take note that sunlight mixed with the insecticide might burn a plant, thus insecticide should only be used at night or when the plant is out of direct sunlight.

No of the course of treatment, keep the afflicted plant away from the rest of your collection while it recovers, taking extra care to make sure that none of its leaves touch those of any other plants. To prevent thrips in the future, thoroughly inspect plants before bringing them indoors and try routinely rinsing the leaves with water.

What results in thrips on house plants?

The majority of the time, thrips will enter your home on the leaves of indoor plants that have spent the summer outside or when you buy a new indoor plant.

Thrips may also accompany cut flowers or vegetables that you bring inside from the garden because they are a frequent garden pest.

The adults can fly, yet they are also quite little. This means that open doors and window screens could allow thrips to enter. Find out more about the origins of indoor plant pests here.

How do you get rid of thrips in your home?

You can take care of the leaves, stems, and blooms on your houseplant using a few different techniques. The first step is to spray your plant with water to remove any thrips that may be present. Repeat this frequently while keeping a close eye on the plants. Insecticidal soaps and neem oil sprays are both secure and reliable options if this doesn’t work or if you wish to try a spray. Make careful you apply the product according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Since the nymphs, or young thrips, may be present in your soil, you may wish to treat it to ensure that you completely eradicate all thrips. The soil can be treated with a systemic insecticide for houseplants to control a variety of pests. The plant will absorb the systemic pesticide and defend itself against a range of pests, including thrips, by simply watering it into the plant.

Prune Thrip-Damaged Plants

Remove any leaves, blossoms, or stems that have been thrip-damaged and place them in a garbage container. To prevent the thrips from spreading if the plant is severely affected, completely separate it from the rest of your plants. The greatest move you can make as a plant parent could be to throw the entire thrip-infested plant into the garbage, depending on how attached you are to the plant. Throwing the plant away is a difficult but effective thrip therapy.

Wash Thrips Off Plants With Water

With a spray from the hose, remove thrips from the leaves of outdoor plants. Pay attention to the areas of the leaves where they congregate. Use a spray bottle to apply a soap-and-water mixture on the foliage of indoor plants. Saturate every area of the infected plant with a mixture of a gallon of water and two teaspoons of dish soap. Although it works to control thrips, it won’t stop them from coming back.

Spray Plants With Neem Oil

A natural pesticide derived from the neem tree is called neem oil. For gardeners, it is essential because, unlike synthetic pesticides, it kills undesirable insects like thrips and white flies without affecting beneficial insects like bees and other pollinators. Neem oil works by blocking the hormones that drive insects to feed and reproduce.

Here is how to use neem oil to get rid of thrips:

  • Get rid of the thrips from your plant.
  • One gallon of water should contain 4 teaspoons of neem oil and 2 teaspoons of dishwashing soap.
  • Spray on the plant’s infected areas.

Neem oil doesn’t instantly kill thrips, so you won’t get to enjoy seeing the pests that destroyed your plant wheeze and pass away. Systematic pest control is provided with neem oil. Neem oil is absorbed by your plant into its tissue, where its components will prevent subsequent insect attempts to consume the plant. It is comparable to a plant vaccine.

Spray Plants With Pyrethrin

A natural thrips-killing pesticide derived from chrysanthemums is called pyrethrin. Pyrethrin must be sprayed on infected plants twice, with a 4-day interval between each application. Concerned with the environment? Use pyrethrin pesticides instead of pyrethroid pesticides, which have synthetic chemicals added to make them more harmful to insects. Pyrethrin pesticides are safer. If pyrethroids enter streams, they can also destroy fish and honey bees. Before you spray, check the label to be sure you’re getting what you expect.

What Are Thrips?

Around the world, thrips, which are small insects approximately the size of a sewing needle, eat a variety of plants. Thrips, also referred to as thunderflies or thysanoptera, are sucking insects that can harm some plant life. When they spread viruses to plants, though, the harm they cause may be considerably worse.

Thrips Life Cycle: The thrips’ life cycle is influenced by their species, as well as by their environment, host plant, and other elements. In plant waste, bark, or other materials, adult thrips overwinter. In the early spring, they become active and lay their eggs in plant tissue. The eggs take 35 days to hatch, and the nymphs eat for 13 weeks before taking a break to molt in 12 weeks. Outside, thrips can produce up to 15 generations per year. Thrip adults have brief lifespans of about one month.

Identifying Thrips

The length of an adult thrips ranges from 1/50 to 1/25 of an inch. They may be yellow, brown, or even black, and if you approach them too closely, they will probably leap or fly away. Their wings are slender and fringed. Although they tend to be pale green or yellow rather than darker colors, the nymphs resemble even smaller adults. Additionally, they occasionally have crimson eyes and have unfinished wings.

Thrips on your plants appear as small, black slivers. Without a magnifying glass, it is difficult to view their bodies clearly, but up close, they resemble lobsters. To make them easier to see, shake them onto a white background.

Thrips Damage

Streaks, silvery speckling, and tiny white spots are all signs of thrips damage. This occurs as a result of thrips sucking plant cells from numerous shade trees, flowers, fruits, and garden plants. Your plants may be stunted with ruined blossoms and fruit if you have a severe thrips infestation. Instead, the harm you observe can be caused by the virus that thrips disseminate (usually tomato spotted wilt virus).

Florida University provided the image. Chilli thrips are responsible for these striations of damage on roses.

How to Get Rid of Thrips

  • Try using yellow or blue sticky traps to keep thrips populations under control.
  • One simple technique for getting rid of thrips from your plants rapidly involves shaking branches to eliminate them and capturing them on a towel underneath.
  • If you have onion thrips, bang the tops of the onions against a dark piece of paper in the garden. If thrips are present, you will see their tan bodies on the paper. They are killed after a few applications of insecticidal soap. Observe the instructions on the packaging. The thrips should vanish after two sprayings of the plants, spaced three days apart.
  • Spray dormant oil on fruit trees to keep them healthy.
  • Dust diatomaceous earth on the undersides of leaves as a last resort.

Steven Arthurs/University of Florida is the photographer. A fig tree with black thrips and thrip damage.

How to Prevent Thrips

  • Mix 1 tablespoon of Lysol household cleanser with 1 gallon of water to treat gladiolus flower thrips. To avoid thrips, soak gladiolus corms in the solution and plant them while they are still damp.
  • To draw beneficial insects that are thrips’ natural predators, you can cultivate a variety of flowers. Lady bugs, lacewings, and pirate bugs are a few effective predators. Find out how to draw those predators.
  • Consider releasing tiny pirate bugs or the predatory mite Amblyseius cucumeris to control onion and western flower thrips.
  • Reflective mulches might aid in thrip protection by obscuring your plants.
  • Some plants offer resistant variants if thrips are a serious issue in your area.
  • Avoid overfertilizing plants to prevent further thrips damage.

Can a plant thrips recover?

Thankfully, your plant should recover unless the infestation spreads. Make sure to keep the diseased plant far from other plants to prevent the infestation from spreading through contact between its leaves. All you have to do is keep up the treatment, check on the plant daily, and remember to wipe the leaves down.

The best course of action in extreme situations, when the thrips have taken complete control, is to completely bag up the plant, seal it off so the thrips can’t escape, and discard it. Even while it is always terrible to lose a plant, it is better to do so than to let the infestation to grow.

Can thrips cause a leaf to regenerate?

The young thrips are slender and yellow. The adults have wings and are either black or dark brown with a crimson stripe. Thankfully, the affected plants typically bounce back.

How can you tell whether a plant is thrips-infested?


  • On the leaves and buds, there are tiny black stipples. Use a magnifying glass to make sure that the black dots on the plants are caused by a thrip rather than another bug.
  • You may quickly check for thrips by rubbing a branch or some leaves against some white paper. Thrips will drop to the paper and are then simple to see.
  • Another tool is blue or yellow sticky cards. The cards will let you know if there are any thrips nearby because they are drawn to these colors.

Which plants are thrips-prone?

At this time of year, thrips can be a serious problem. Many individuals don’t notice that their gardens have pest problems until their plants’ leaves start to look stippled and silvery. On the undersides of infected leaves, colonies of these small sucking insects can be seen. It is advisable to remove broken leaves because they cannot be repaired thereafter.

The drier, warmer months of the year are when thrips damage happens most frequently. Lower leaves on plants in dry, gloomy environments tend to be more vulnerable. Healthy gardens with enough irrigation and plants that receive overhead watering are typically less vulnerable. The insect can be controlled by spraying a strong stream of water on the undersides of infected leaves. Azalea, Bergenia, ferns, Luma, Pyracantha, Rhododendron, Toyon, and Viburnum are some of the plants that are most vulnerable to thrips. Evergreens and camellias have both recently displayed damage.

The easier it is to control this bug, the sooner it is discovered. Spray at the prescribed rates using an insecticidal soap and refined horticultural oil mixture. On a tiny area of the infected plant, test the spray. After your test period, if you notice no leaf damage, spray your plant liberally, paying close attention to the lower branches and the undersides of the leaves. Oil or soap sprays are less disruptive to natural enemies due to their brief duration.

Horticultural Oil is sprayed on plants in the spring at Nuccio’s Nurseries, a producer of camellias and azaleas, to reduce thrips infestations. Releases of Lacewing beneficial insects that they order from insectaria are used to stop any additional outbreaks.

Earthworm Castings are our go-to mulch because there is data to suggest that plants with good mulch around their bases are less vulnerable to thrips infestations. Mulching may create a habitat for natural predators and boost the plant’s general health by retaining moisture. It’s also advised to remove any plant waste from the area around the plant’s base as well as any leaves that are seriously infested.

Although there is no universal treatment for thrips, keeping a close eye on existing plantings, choosing plants that are less vulnerable, deep watering throughout the warm season, and prompt treatment when thrips are first noticed will all help to manage this pest.

Thrips can infest your house.

The symptoms of thrips infestation on your houseplants can resemble those of other insect infestations, such as leaf discoloration (brown, grayish, or occasionally yellowish), leaf distortion, and leaf growth. If you notice damage that appears to be caused by pests but you are unable to locate any pests, this can help you focus your search.

Thrips are tiny and can move or jump swiftly, so if you don’t have a keen eye you might miss them. But next to damaged areas, you might notice tiny black patches the size of a pinhead. It is thrips waste. Yes, they consume your plant before leaving their waste as a thank-you.

On my monstera, I noticed a small amount of yellowish discolouration and black markings on the undersides of the leaves before I discovered the first adult. The plant’s new growth also had a few slightly misshapen edges, and I saw a few smaller brown spots where the stems and leaves met.

I checked the plant after noticing this, unsure of what was happening, until I discovered my first little tiny crawler. When I attempted to poke it, the thrips bounced away. Despite having wings, they are terrible at flying. I started to lose my mind at this point; maybe, I can save you some of that.