Eastern Flower Thrips – Facts for Fancy Fruit

Eastern Flower Thrips

Eastern flower thrips, an occasional pest of strawberries, have been reported in large numbers in central Indiana. They are attracted to and feed on flowers, with the result being leathery fruit or fruit that fail to ripen. This problem occurs every year at some level but has not been serious since 1994. Eastern flower thrips do not overwinter in Indiana and must migrate northward each year on winds from the South. Eastern flower thrips are very tiny, 1/16 inch long, so they are barely visible with the naked eye. There are a couple of ways to sample for them. My favorite is to pick a flower and swish it around in a vial of alcohol. You can also shake the flowers over a white piece of paper or plate. If you find 2-10 thrips per flower, you should probably treat. Brigade, Danitol, Entrust and Radiant should provide excellent control. All of these products are moderately to highly toxic to pollinators that will be visiting your flowers, so you should treat as early in the bloom period as possible and apply the insecticides in the evening after pollinators have left the field.


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