If you’re battling an infestation, I urge you to keep reading, as I will be giving you tips on how to get rid of thrips naturally using biological & organic options.
Thrips are very tiny insects that can cause a whole lot of havoc on your garden plants. They are brutal with their feeding habits, as they puncture and suck out the insides of other insects.
They don’t just feed on insects, some of them love to munch on buds and plants, those in your garden inclusive!
When thrips feast on your plants, they leave them with ugly black scars and specks, which are their feces.
Another sign of a thrip infestation is stippled leaves, also blossoms that dry up before they are opened.
Let’s not be too hard on the thrips though, as they are not all bad. Some of them are beneficial to the plants. This means you’d need to devise a plan to get rid of them, but not necessarily kill them.
This of course depends on the particular type of their infestation you are faced with.
Be sure of the pests you’re dealing with before you take any drastic action. Just so you’d avoid killing the beneficial thrips and your plants in the process.
You may wonder how thrips can be beneficial to your plants. Remember I mentioned earlier that they feast on other insects. Well, most of these insects are pests that destroy the plants in your garden.
So if you have a case of insect-eating thrips, then count yourself lucky. But if you’re dealing with the plant-eating species, then you’d have a real problem on your hands.
To get rid of the “hazardous” thrips, there are certain things you could do.
How To Get Rid Of Thrips Naturally
Getting rid of thrips is no easy task, as you will discover when you attempt to do so.
Pesticides are a decent option, but that would be risky for beneficial thrips.
Control strategies are your best bet, and this would involve the use of thrips insecticides. Employing the right cultural practices is also important. This includes providing a regular water supply and cleaning up dead or diseased plant residue.
Pruning and disposing of the injured plant parts is a safe way to rid your plant of thrips. Make sure your cuts are clean when you do so because more thrips will be attracted to the pruning wounds. A tree wound sealer can help conceal the wound though.
Insecticidal soap and other mild insecticides can also be used to drive them away from your flowers. Neem oil works very well too.
Garden maintenance is an essential part of thrip management. It is your responsibility to limit the breeding options for the thrips in your garden.
This will involve cleaning up any plant debris while it’s still fresh on the ground.
Thrips are known to lay their eggs in slits which they create in the stems of live plants. When you spot such slits in your plant stem, you have to take action immediately.
Always take close looks at your plants and see if they are covered in such slits. A major area to pay attention to is the part where the leaves are attached to the stems.
If you notice clusters of thrips in those areas, then follow the steps below.
Remove Weeds And Grass
Be sure to rid your garden of weeds and overgrown grass. Also, make sure you get rid of any crop debris around the area. Onion leaves after harvest are a major magnet for thrips, so be sure to clear them off if you find any.
If you have dry mulch in your garden then you’d have nothing to worry about. Green mulch on the other hand would be a problem, as thrips are also attracted to it.
Inspect New Plants
If you’re bringing in new plants into your garden, be sure you first inspect them for signs of thrips. Failure to do so will expose the other garden plants to thrip infestation.
If you find any infested plants, be sure to discard them securely.
Flush Them Away
If you discover thrips in your garden, using a simple hose flush can shake them off your plants. They wouldn’t be able to hang on after a good blast of water, and this will help reduce their number, that is if it doesn’t get them all.
Use Other Beneficial Insects
Certain insects are commercially available. Some of these insects can feed on thrips, thereby helping you get rid of them.
Minute pirate bugs are a great example of such insects. They feed not only on mature thrips but on their eggs and larvae as well.
Ladybugs are also ideal predators that you can use to get rid of thrips before they become a huge problem for you.
A helpful tip is to release the insects right after you have sprayed down your plants with a hose and water.
Use Biological Insecticides
Some great biological insecticides can get the job done for you. Some of them contain Beauveria, which is an entomopathogenic fungus, known to cause problems for all sorts of garden pests, thrips inclusive.
Applying biological insecticides every week can prevent the occurrence of thrips in your garden. These are a much safer option the traditional chemical pesticides.
Safe versions of these which are made from natural plant oils and fats can help tackle thrips. They also will not harm most of the beneficial insects.
You can apply neem oil and Spinosad to any infected parts of the tree you find.
How To Use Dish Soap To Kill Thrips
You don’t necessarily need a pesticide to tackle thrip infestation. Besides being expensive, they can also pose a threat to both human and plant health. They can also cause harm to beneficial insects which help rid your plants of destructive pests.
A better and safer alternative would be Insecticidal soap, which you can make with dish soap right in the comfort of your home. This pest control method can help rid your garden of all sorts of plant pests, thrips included.
Things You Will Need
- Dish soap
- Measuring spoons
- Glass jar with lid
- Garden sprayer or spray bottle
How To Make The Solution
Make a liquid dish soap/water mixture at a ratio of two tablespoons per gallon. This mixture should be slightly less than 1 percent soap. Be sure it is properly blended.
If the water is too hard, then don’t expect homemade Insecticidal soap to work properly.
You can test the water hardiness by combining it with the soap in an adequate ratio and stirring thoroughly in clear glass. If you find any scum forming on the surface of the water, then it means the water is too hard for the mixture to work.
If the water is ok and the mixture is good enough, then pour it into a spray bottle. Be sure to test it for toxicity before you spray it around all your infested plants.
You can do this by spraying a little amount on a small leaf and watching for a reaction. You will need to be patient for about 24 hours to determine if the mixture is toxic or not. To be sure, you can wait another 24 hours, that’s 48 hours in total.
If after the waiting time has elapsed and there is no damage to the leaf, then you are good to go. However, if you discover that the leaf has been damaged, then it means the mixture is too toxic.
You can dilute it with more water then test again to be sure.
Repeat the application every 5 days until the thrips are all gone.
Be warned though, you must use only mild liquid dish soap absent a degreaser.
Another word of caution is to not apply the soap spray on plants that are stressed from drought. Also do not apply on plants when the temperatures are above 90°F.
Doing so will only damage your plants even more than the thrips would.
Do not also spray on blooming fruit trees!
How Long Does It Take To Kill Thrips?
Thrip infestations can take about 15 days to be gotten rid of during warmer temperatures. It is different in the colder seasons, which require about a month before they are completely gone.
Can You Drown Thrips?
Yes, thrips can be drowned. All you need is a powerful water cannon or a hose to spray your flowers.
The good thing about drowning trips is that you’ll be hydrating your plants at the same time. So it’s a win-win situation.
If you must use the drowning method, then make sure you do this every day until you are sure all the thrips are gone. It isn’t enough to spray just once and assume you’ve gotten rid of them all, as some tiny ones may be hiding in-between slits which you can’t see.
There you have it. I trust this article on how to get rid of thrips has been of great help.