Thrips are one of the biggest plant pests for houseplants, but where do thrips come from? Do they fly into your home, or do they get carried in somehow? Let’s figure it out.
Pests are one of the main problems that plant parents have to deal with. Thrips can be one of the worst plant infestations. According to rough numbers, thrips can infest 92% of outdoor plants in a domestic environment.
Thrips can come with other plants or even through an open window. But why and how do plants get infested with thrips? And what can you do to stop it?
Let us find out all about where these pests come from.
Thrips are one of the most common summer pests that you can find on house plants. These tiny, black-winged insects can live on the leaves of almost any green plant.
You might carry thrips indoors with plants you have summered when you bring them back inside.
If you have potted plants, check the undersides of the leaves for small, dark spots. These are likely thrips.
You may also see tiny brownish-black specks on the leaves; these are thrips feces.
Thrips damage plants by puncturing the leaves and sucking out the plant juices. This feeding damage causes the leaves to turn yellow or brown and become distorted.
When a plant has heavy infestation from thrips, it may have stunted growth, produce fewer flowers, and can drop leaves prematurely.
Thrips Can Hitch a Ride With New Plants
Thrips can be easily transported from one plant to another, even if they are not close to each other. The life cycle of these insects is such that it allows them to reproduce and find a host very quickly.
Female thrips lay eggs on leaves, starting the cycle of transportation from one plant to another.
These eggs hatch and grow on the leaves or fall on the soil around the plant. When you take this plant indoors, the tiny thrips will find other plants nearby to infest.
Western flower thrips are one of the species of thrips that are predatory to common houseplants. These are similar to thrips that thrive outdoors or in greenhouses.
The biggest problem with these insects is that they are practically invisible to human eyes way they hide. You will not be able to see their effect on the plant until they do their damage.
When you are purchasing a plant from a market, you should always check for pests through close inspection.
If you bring a thrip-infested plant to your home, the indoor plants are very likely going to get infested in a matter of days.
Through Doors and Windows Screens
Thrips can also come into your home through doors and window screens. The most common way is for them to fly in through open doors or windows.
They can also come in through cracks and crevices in doorways and windows. Once inside, they will often hide in dark, warm places like baseboards and behind appliances.
You can also find thrips on plant debris from your windows, and their population can keep multiplying on damp surfaces.
Thrips and spider mites are two of the most common infestations that can occur by air-borne insects, and they can get very difficult to get rid of.
Are All Thrips Bad?
Not all thrips are bad. There are over 5,000 thrips species in the world, and many of them are beneficial to crops and gardens.
Some thrips feed on other insects, while others help pollinate flowers. Still, others help control plant diseases. So while a few thrips species can cause problems for gardeners, most are helpful.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do thrips come from the soil?
Yes, thrips can come from the soil too. Thrips lay eggs on plants that can fall on the soil, and these get carried with the plant. The eggs hatch on the soil and then latch on to the plant, and you end up infesting other houseplants in this way too.
Do thrips fly from plant to plant?
Yes, thrips can fly from one plant to another. They are attracted to the colors white and yellow, so they may be more likely to fly to a plant that is a different color than the one they are currently on.
Can thrips infest your house?
Thrips mainly infest plants, but if there is a high infestation, these insects can even infest a whole house. If you suspect that you have thrips in your home, it is important to take action immediately to prevent them from causing damage to your plants and property.
Will thrips go away on their own?
No, thrips do not go away on their own. If you have an infestation, you will need to take active measures to get rid of them.
This may involve using pesticides, chemicals, or other pest control methods. You may also need to remove affected plants from your garden.
What does a thrip infestation look like?
A thrip infestation often looks like small, black dots on the leaves of plants. The dots are the insects themselves.
Thrips can also cause damage to plants by eating their leaves and flowers. This can result in stunted growth or even death of the plant.
Do thrips live on humans?
No, thrips do not live on humans. However, they may bite humans if they are present in large numbers and are seeking out a source of moisture.
Thrips typically feed on plant matter, so they bite humans if you disturb them or if they mistake your skin for a suitable food source.
Thrips can be a real nuisance and can destroy your houseplants very quickly. This is why it is so important to keep a lookout for thrips coming into your house.
If you love your plants, always check a new plant for thrips infestation before bringing it inside your home. When summering your plants, check each one thoroughly before bringing them back inside for thrip infestation.
Thank you for reading!