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thrips - how do you deal with them?

This is a discussion on thrips - how do you deal with them? within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hello All, I think my phals got thrips I'm not sure if its them since ...

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  1. #1
    chemist's Avatar
    chemist is offline Senior Member
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    Default thrips - how do you deal with them?

    Hello All,
    I think my phals got thrips
    I'm not sure if its them since description from online sources say adult thrips have wings and they fly but damage on flowers and buds look similar to thrips damage.

    So far for last week or two I saw about 10 adult thrips (black , about 1/16 in, not flying at disturbance but crawling).
    I did see also few youngsters (tiny yellow-greenish) on buds or close to it on spike. I don't know if there I any inside the buds since its just developing into the buds.

    So my question is how do you deal with pest invasion?!

    I read online about remedies but I'm trying not to use synthetic pesticides if possible due to work (im analyzing pesticides at very low concentrations and afraid to contaminate work place and equipment).

    Is there any other remedies?! I found a recipe of concentrate made of 0.01% neem oil in alcohol, which you have to dilute 1:40 with water to make mix and spray the plant.

    I sprayed once already last weekend. I also put blue sticky papers around but nothing stick to it yet ( guess I don't have big infestation).

    Also do I need to spray all plants I have ? I have African violets, monstera plant and lemon tree.
    What im wonder about is where these pests came from? when I bought most of phals over the summer they did not have any pests and now in a middle of winter I'm seeing it. the only one thing I brought in few other plants which I repotted into the soil from outside. Could it be the source?

    Any advise is appreciated!

  2. #2
    kspalding's Avatar
    kspalding is offline Senior Member
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    Rubbing alcohol mixes can work in mild cases but it sounds like you have a serious infestation. Usually someone might find 1 or 2 but 10 is alot.Those are thrips by your description. Thrips are similar to mealy bugs in the case that only mature males fly for reproductive purposes , and soon after mating the male dies. Females are tiny black crawlers and the yellow is larvae. Since thrips affect blooms I have found that clipping the stem and cleaning out soil helps rid them easily only downfall is you lose that years bloom. They spread quickly so (I am sure you already did) isolate immediately. Sticky tape is a one in a million shot at catching flying males. How many blooms are affected? I have also found simply removing the known affected blooms and the one next in line to bloom also helps rid thrips (but usually in milder cases). Otherwise systemic may be your only other option.

  3. #3
    chemist's Avatar
    chemist is offline Senior Member
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    Kim, count of 10 was over 2 weeks period, one or two a day.
    Do i need replant all plants in apartment? I mean other non-orchid too?
    Maybe ill go with systematic than (very carefully ). What would you suggest to use than?!

  4. #4
    kspalding's Avatar
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    Most plants THAT ARENT AS SENSITIVE can typically be washed off with soap and water. But yes, thrips spread and are not just partial to orchids. If you have a sprayer on your sink, I would just say spray them off then carefully resanitize your area before placing them back on your table (or where ever). Clean soil and all in case you knock some of the bugs from the blooms off into it otherwise they don't naturally collect in soil just blooms.

    Neem can help the problem from returning but does not provide 100% protection. Dishsoap can go a long way for the plants you can soak (leaves and all) , place in a sink of warm soapy water and let soak 2-3 mins., spray off, and replant.

    Check your plants. Thrips tend to be drawn more toward unhealthy plants (although are not limited to)because of their sweeter juices. Many people have had more problems the last few years due to the odd weather around the world. Even the insects are outta season, lol.

  5. #5
    chemist's Avatar
    chemist is offline Senior Member
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    I think im ready to declare thrips a war ) - i went to hardware store, bought three different bottles of pesticide spray (3 different active ingredients) for insects like thrips. At work with coworker i found another pesticide in powdered form (unfortunately in small quantity) so i can make another liter of spray at the level of comercial stuff.
    Just have to find time in morning to apply it - the hardest part

    On another website found few suggestions too:
    " Soft bodied insects, such as mealy bugs, aphids, and thrips

    Straight 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol – touch insects with a soaked cotton swab or spray entire affected area of plant. Repeat every two to three days. Apply in the early morning or late afternoon, when cool. A typical sprayer top can be put on to the alcohol bottle.
    Garlic/Pepper Spray – liquefy 2 bulbs of garlic and 2 hot peppers in a blender ½ to 2/3 full of water. Strain and add water to make 1 gallon of concentrate. Use ¼ cup concentrate per gallon of water."
    Posted via Mobile Device

  6. #6
    ksriramkumar is offline Senior Member
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    I had a thrip infestation and I had adopted a two phase approach.
    1) Use 3ml neem oil + 3 ml liquid soap + 3ml vodka+ 1 L warm water. use every 7 days. drench the medium and keep away from direct sun.
    2) hang sticky glue traps that contain pheromone. I used a yellow one and height of hanging is quite important. effective height in my experiment is about 30-45cms above the foliage.

    all the very best

  7. #7
    chemist's Avatar
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    Thank you Ksriramkumar!
    Will do!
    In India i guess its very easy to find neem oil , i mean not adulterated one. I wonder what brand in US is the best, any suggestion anyone? For now im using a client's sample of neem oil... I hope its real thing.
    Same with sticky traps, there is no way to check if it will have pheromone.
    I checked my plants yesterday, found one adult but did not see any babies.
    Tomorrow morning will repeat neem treatment.

  8. #8
    kspalding's Avatar
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    Sriram-That solution will only work if the vodka is for me lol.

    Chem- I wish you the best of luck.

  9. #9
    hbozeman's Avatar
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    Once the infestation is under control, you might want to try growing some carniverous plants like butterworts in and among your orchids. They are working wonders for my gnats. And occasionally they bless me with beautiful flowers.

  10. #10
    Carolla's Avatar
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    That's a fun idea hbozeman! How hard are they to grow? What sort of conditions do they need? Ok, now to waste more time on the internet...

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