One of the most common pests found in gardens and greenhouses, thrips, are tiny insects that are no more than 1/25th of an inch in length.
Their small size makes them hard to see. Combined with their agility, speed, and ability to fly, catching thrips is even difficult.
However, the damage that thrips can cause in home are unmistakable.
And while thrips are mostly found in outdoor locations, they have no issue with coming inside your home and feeding on the potted plants.
They leave behind indoor plants with jagged scars and sometimes a splotchy appearance as they consume the leaves and stems.
The worst part is, because they are community insects, they will feed in large numbers which can consume a plant quickly.
So, keeping these tiny insects away from your home and young plants is most important if you do not want to compromise your home and garden’s beauty.
Different Ways to Get Rid of Thrips
The good news is that thrips can be eliminated using common household materials with natural means.
This means that if you find these pesky insects in your home, you do not have to purchase insecticides or other poisons which may also harm family and pets.
However, if you find that the following natural methods do not work, then call a professional exterminator who can do the job.
1- Inspect Indoor Plants
Thrips can infest your home and can multiply fast once they manage to get inside.
They can find their way into your home primarily through indoor plants when these are brought inside.
Once they get inside, they can nest on these indoor houseplants to suck the nutrients and breed.
Once they breed and larvae becomes adult, they can quickly multiply and infest your whole home.
Its therefore recommended that you inspect every plant you plan to bring inside your home.
Also check these at home plants regularly for the infestation from time to time.
2- Diatomaceous Earth
This seemingly harmless looking substance will dehydrate thrips and cause them to die rather quickly.
Just sprinkle the product over the soil of the plant.
Any insect that comes into contact with it will be cut and dehydrate rather quickly.
The best place to sprinkle is around the plant stem itself as that is where many immature thrips will gather.
While Diatomaceous earth is generally harmless to people and pets when used in small quantities, you should still wear gloves when handling the product.
Keep your kids away as well since the substance can cause irritation.
3- Essential Oils
Many essential oils are both organic and kill at home thrips quickly.
You can mix one to two drops of essential oils per gallon of water.
Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and use where needed.
Peppermint oil is one of the most effective and offers a pleasing scent once applied.
In addition, the essential oil is safe and can be used liberally around the home.
Of all the essential oils, there is one that does work more effectively than most of the others. It is called Neem oil.
4- Neem Oil
This is an essential oil that is quite e good at killing thrips along with many other small insects.
Neem oil is also inexpensive and does no harm to those living inside your home.
Just a couple of drops per gallon of water is enough of a mixture to do the job.
Pour it into a spray bottle and use it directly against the thrips.
They will die quickly once exposed.
While most plants are resilient to neem oil, you may want to test it on a leaf first to see if it is sensitive before spraying it on your indoor plants.
If you see any dead thrips, be sure to wash the plant off with water so as not to attract other bugs which eat dead insects.
One issue with Neem oil is that it should not be exposed to direct sunlight when applied to outdoor plants.
The UV rays will heat up the Neem oil and burn the plant.
So, wait until after sunset before spraying your outdoor plants which gives time for the Neem oil to be absorbed or evaporate.
One of the most popular pesticides is pyrethrin.
It is easy to obtain and is quite effective in killing thrips and other unwanted insects.
Plus, it’s short-term in nature which means that the pesticide will dissolve and go away, not harming the plants, pets, or people after a pre-set period.
Keep in mind that pyrethrin is the ingredient in short term pesticides, so you will have to read the labels to find it.
It is often used in organic or all-natural pesticides, so be sure to look at the ingredients.
The main advantage of this pesticide is that it works quickly to eliminate thrips.
But if you have kids or pets around the home, you may want to try an alternative if you are concerned about using pesticides.
6- Soapy Water
Mix a few drops of dish soap per one cup of water.
Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and then spray it at the thrips, the plants, and any surfaces where you see the little flies.
Before spraying the mixture on plants, you might want to limit the exposure to one leaf and see if it does any damage.
However, you can spray it on surfaces that will kill the thrips rather quickly.
Of course, the thrips breed rather quickly as well, so you will need to reapply the soapy water every day until there are no more thrips around.
Once you have covered the main areas, look for entrances around the home and apply the mixture to prevent them from coming inside.
7- Sticky Traps
If you want to maximize safety, then sticky traps are the way to go.
You can purchase them inexpensively or make them yourself.
The advantage of sticky traps is that they do not use any poisons or liquids for that matter.
The black thrips inside your home can easily get stuck in the trap and dies rather quickly.
You can then dispose of the trap when desired and replace it as needed.
To catch thrips in your home, be sure to use blue traps as they are attracted to that color.
Place the traps around your indoor plants and areas where thrips tend to fly around.
For your outdoor plants, spraying them with water everyday will destroy the thrips.
You can even bring your indoor plants outdoors and spray them off as well.
Use enough pressure to wash away any thrips from the plants, but not so much as to damage the plants.
The thrips will drown because of the water and the spray will also wash away the dead ones.
You should repeat the process every day for at least a few days to ensure that all the thrips are gone.
9- Natural Predators
If you are looking for other, natural ways to keep thrips away from your home and garden, try using bugs that eat thrips such as ladybugs.
They will not harm your plants, but they will get rid of the thrips.
Plus, you can attract pirate bugs and lacewings which also consume thrips and other harmful insects.
What do Thrips Look Like?
Although identical, thrips are not earwigs.
They are different and will most likely do the damages to household plants differently.
When talking specifically about the thrips, there are thousands of different species of thrips, but they do have some common features.
Most notably they can fly and will often be found hanging around plants in your yard or garden area.
Other features include the following…
- They are Small, Agile, and Fast
- They have a Long, Slender Body with Feathery Wings
- Their Common Colors include Black, White, and Green
Some thrips are transparent as well, which depends on the exact species and their age.
However, it is quite possible that you have many thrips in your yard but have never seen one because they are so small.
The ones that are normally seen are black and resemble a small house fly.
Immature thrips have yet to develop their wings and are normally yellow in color until they become adults.
Where Do Thrips Like to Live?
If you are looking for thrips, the first place to go is the plants inside and outside your home.
Plants that flower and have lots of sap available are prime locations for thrips.
Given their sheer numbers, thrips will often find their way into your home.
This is normally because a pet, a child, an adult, or taking in your laundry will provide them a ride inside your house.
And since all that is needed is a few thrips to get started, it will not be long before they breed in considerable numbers to fill up your home.
Where you can find them most?
You’ll start seeing the telltale signs if not the small black flies that hover around areas where you keep food.
If you have plants inside, look for the immature thrips which will often be seen clearly against the dark soil.
But if you have food present in the kitchen sink, you will probably see lots of small black flies which are thrips flying about the area.
Thrips are determined if nothing else, so start with your plants and then search the places that offer them a source of food.
Houseplants, fruits, and vegetables are the most common sources.
Other Related Questions:
How many species of thrips are there?
There are over 6,000 different species of thrips around the Earth which makes them one of the most common of all pests.
Thrips are often called by several different names depending on their location, but they are all related.
Some of the names include the following.
- Corn Fleas, Corn Flies, Corn Lice
- Thunderbugs, Thunderblights, and Thunderflies
- Storm Flies, Storm Bugs, and Freckle Bugs
- Harvest Bugs, Physiopod, Terebrantia, and Woodworm
With so many different species and several names to boot, thrips do have a generally common appearance that makes them easy to identify once seen.
If the thrips are present in great numbers which is often the case, they can do considerable damage to the plants present in both indoor and outdoor gardens.
So, make sure as soon as you see them, follow the natural home remedies mentioned above to stop them.
Far better, if you can try preventive measures to keep away the thrips you can easily save your garden from these species before they make any damage.
Welcome to ProShieldPest.com. I am Tina Jones. I have been lately working as a pest removal professional in Winslow, Arizona. At present, I love to spend my time with my family as a retiree.
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