Currently viewing the category: "Thrips"

Bug on Melon Trees
Location: Malaysia
December 4, 2010 2:00 am
Hi, I am having problems with my melon crops within a netted green house. Location is in Malaysia (tropical climate).
The melon plants grows as usual during the first 2 weeks, after that the grown is stunned and clustering of leaf on the top of the plant becomes apparent. Eventually the plant shoots will dry up and the leaf becomes hard and brittle.
I have lost a few thousand plants due to this.
Recently we have spotted these tiny insects on the leafs and could be the answer to the problems. They are very thin and the length is about 1mm long.
They crawl around the leafs like ants and doesnt seem to fly or hop.
I have not have any luck identifying the class of this pest, in order to determine the right insecticide to use.
Sorry for the poor quality image, hope this will help.z
Signature: Kenny

Possibly Thrips

Hi Kenny,
We cannot make out enough detail in your photo to be certain about an identification, however, you may have Thrips.  We will link to the BugGuide page on Thrips in the order Thysanoptera.  Even though you may have Thrips, we do not believe they are responsible for your high melon mortality rate.  There are other insects that bore in the stems of melons and related plants, and there may be something destroying the roots.  You may want to read this website on the control of Squash Vine Borers, a North American Moth as there may be a Malaysian relative with similar feeding habits.  We are posting your letter in the hopes that one of our readers may have a positive suggestion.  Good luck with your melon crop.

Brian from United States Department of Agriculture comments
As always great job!  Had to comment on this one.  The Thrips can very well be killing these melon plants.  Its well known that thrips are vectors of plant diseases.   “Over 20 plant infecting viruses are known to be transmitted by thrips. These enveloped viruses are considered among some of the most damaging of emerging plant pathogens around the world.”  Their feeding spreads the disease from plant to plant as the suck the juices from an infected plant and move on to a healthy plant and then inoculating it. Its like an contaminated hypodermic needle spreading a disease every time it is use on a new patient.
#1 Fan

Thanks so much Brian.  Your comment was a nice treat after a long, rough day.

Update: January 11, 2011
Dear Daniel,
I managed to get better pictures of the thrips, they are identified as Western Flower Thrips. See attached files.
They are a major pest for greenhouse growers and very difficult to control.


Thanks for the update on your Western Flower Thrips.  Now we have to determine if the singular form of Thrips is Thrip.


Confused Conservationists
Hi there friends at What’s That Bug,
I am writing from the Niagara Region in Ontario Canada….a team of our field staff from the Conservation Authority came across this mass on a tree and even our entomologist is stumped….we tried to send it to you back in June but didn’t hear back from you….we understand that you receive a high volume. Any help with the ID of these critters would be most helpful. They are doing a lot of damage in one particular area of this forest. Thanks and we love your site!!!!

Hi Dee,
Other than suspecting that these are Beetle Larvae, we cannot provide you with any information. This type of aggregation would indicate a food source like perhaps fungus. Are you certain the larvae are responsible for the damage? It is possible something else is weakening the trees and the beetles are feeding on fungus on a damaged tree. Your letter did not really describe the damage. We will contact Eric Eaton to see if he can provide any information. We strongly recommend that you post your images to as individuals can write in an comment and there are many knowledgeable contributors.

Update: (08/30/2008)
I have no idea on the larval aggregation, though in some respects they actually resemble thrips rather than beetle larvae. I’ll be interested to learn the consensus should the images be posted to Bugguide. An indication of size would also help immensely. … If I learn anything more about the red and black “beetle” larvae, I’ll let you know.

Update: 20 September 2008
Red Tube-tailed Thrips
A fellow by the name of Ken Ramos actually tracked down the ID, from some of his own pictures of similar beasts.
See http://www.photomacrography. net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5888 .
Hope this helps!

Thanks Rik,
We will also be linking to the BugGuide page on the family Phlaeothripidae, the Tube Tailed Thrips.

Update: Sat, Jan 10, 2009 at 9:48 AM
The Red and Black Thrips posted by the Canadians is Hoplandrothrips brunneicornis.  I intercepted specimens coming from Ontario on firewood and sent them to the Smithsonian.  The adults were black and the immatures were red.  They inhabited logs with fungal rot and fungus beetle larvae on them.  The adults had enlarged front legs almost raptorial like a predator.   However, most thrips are plant feeders.  So it’s a mystery if they were feeding on the fungus or the fungus beetle larvae.  Not much literature exists about this species.

Thrips photos for you, if you wish.
Here are a few photos I took of some thrips. The second photo shows a thrips between two butterfly (Blue morpho) eggs. The forth photo shows a thrips beside a dead white fly (plant pest). The fifth photo (71614639) shows a thrips beside, I think, a dead fruit fly. You may add them, if you wish, into your thrips ID catalog.

Dear RS,
Though you did not indicate your location, because of the tropical Morpho eggs, we are guessing that you are associated with one of the numerous butterfly exhibits that have sprung up across the country. Here is Los Angeles, our yearly summer butterfly exhibit at the Museum of Natural History is called the “Pavilion of Wings”. Your Macro Photographs are wonderful. We are posting some that show both side view and top view as well as the leaf photograph that shows the scale of these miniscule insects that range from 1/2 to 3 millimeters in length. Some Thrips are winged and others not. Some Thrips are plant pests and others are predators. According to the Audubon Guide, there are over 600 species in North America.

Hello whatsthatbug,
Thanks for the reply. Sorry about the incomplete information. Your guess about an association with a butterfly exhibit is correct. I am a very frequent visitor to the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory and Gardens in South Deerfield, Massachusetts, up here in New England; and open 364 days of the year.

What kind of bugs are these?
Hello bugman,
We have a serious bug problem going on right now…we are a screen printing/graphics company and have these little yellow / gold bugs that are eating us alive. Could you please tell us what kind of bugs these are, what are they attracted to and what can we do to get rid of them????
Thank you and have a great day!
Stephanie Crawley

Hi Stephanie,
We can’t tell much by your photo, but based on another letter with some awesome photomicroscopy images, we suspect these might be Thrips. Normally they are plant pests, but perhaps they are capable of biting skin as well.

Need Identification
I need help trying to identify the bug in the attached pictures. I work as a technician at an electronics company. For my 10 minute breaks, I enjoy sitting outside and getting some fresh air. It seems like every spring, these tiny little bugs come out. I’ve noticed that they fly in swarms like gnats. Every time I walk back to my desk, I notice these tiny little creatures all over my shirt, arms, and in my hair. I’m not sure if they are biting me or if it’s the legs walking on me, but they are very itchy. It doesn’t seem as if their "bite" leaves a mark or bump. The pictures were taken with a microscope at 160X power. Any help to try and identify these bugs and why they like me so much would be appreciated.
Jasper, IN

Hi Allan,
This is some species of Thrips in the order Thysanoptera. Accordint to the Audubon Guide, there are over 4700 species in the world. The order name refers to the distinctive fringe of long hair on the wings. They have piercing and rasping mouthparts that enable them to saw through plant tissue and suck juices. Most species are pests on plants. This makes a new order and page for our site. Thanks for the contribution.