Thrips

kris(8b)December 10, 2005

Anyone know any good organic (of course) methods to get rid of or control thrips? I have them on parsley, sage, on marigolds (before frost took em down) and several other herbs. I believe I need something stronger than the blast of water I use for things like aphids.

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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

If the insecticidal soap is not doing the job then you may ned to step up in toxicity to Neem Oil sprays or pyrethrin sprays or dusts. At the same time however look closely at the soil your plants are growing in to be sure it is a good healthy, balanced, soil for the plants to grow in.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2005 at 6:56AM
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kris(8b)

Thanks, I'll upgrade to neem and see how that goes. My soil is as good as I can get it given only one season to heavily amend the horrible compacted construction clay gumbo.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2005 at 2:02PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

You will most likely continue to have pest problems for another 3 to 5 years until the soil has a chance to improve itself. Keep adding organic matter and evntually you will find that you do not need pest control once the soil is healthy and the plants grow strong and healthy. But also use any pest control judiciously so you are not killing off the beneficails that will help with that control.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2005 at 4:18PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I got rid of thrips on my roses by spraying beneficial nematodes in January (keep in mind that January is considered early spring here). Thrips live in the soil when it is cold, so you can catch them there. Otherwise once they get into the plant flowers, you might not be able to kill them except by debudding everything for a week or so.

Here is a link to the nematodes I use and like. If you cannot find them locally, the online price is a dollar cheaper than I pay for them at my garden center.

These things come on a little blue sponge. You rinse out the sponge into a gallon of water and spray that water out into your garden. If you spray when it's cool you'll catch fleas, ticks, and noseums, too.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 10:46AM
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snakeoil

You might also try spinosad which is sold as bullseye (as I recall) by gardens alive. It's an organic pesticide which is extremely effective on thrips and relatively soft on beneficial insects.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 10:06AM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Ummm. I'm wondering just what sort of critters you have, this because I've never had thrips on parsley or sage.

That said, I've never lived in TX, so I don't know if that's also true in your garden. But I do know that you TX folks can have bigger and nastier stuff than other folks do. :>)

Can you describe what the critters look like, also where they are and how they are damaging your plants?

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 5:16PM
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kris(8b)

Oh I didn't know spinosad could work against these, I thought it was a fire ant thing, cool. I'll probably try the nematode thing too, that seems like it would be good for the area anyway and I have a realtively smalish garden so it would be affordable.

Hmm, well I think they are/were thrips. The one I found on my parsley, was pretty large-maybe 1/16", they are aphid colored, kinda that green clearish look, but they are longer and more shaped like a football than aphids are and they have obvious legs and move around well. The damage is that they take the color out of the plant, make the leaves white, it has happened to my marigolds really bad, my sage (less so), and mint and parsley. I found the critter right on a parsley leaf that was nearly all white, so I think it is thrips but I've never had them before.

I promise, TX has some really weird bugs, and I thought I was pretty good commin from FL but oh no, Tx bugs scare the pants off me. I swear some of them have swords.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 6:07PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Sounds like leafhoppers rather than thrips.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 7:42PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Jean is right in that you might have leaf hoppers. This link will take you to a web site about thrips, but I could not find something similar on leaf hoppers. The best control for leaf hoppers is to encourage predators, predatory flies and wasps as well as numerous birds, and that also means not using the more toxic things such as Neem oil unless absolutely necessary.

Here is a link that might be useful: Thrips

    Bookmark   December 16, 2005 at 7:13AM
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kris(8b)

Jean good call. I always thought leafhoppers would be larger, I was seeing the leafhopper nymphs. I also have been seeing the adults, but I thought they were some sort of weird TX blind mosquito because they seem attracted to the light so I always ignored them, I didn't even think they could be causing the trouble. Thanks so much!

Kimmsr, I'll use neem on the inside plants and only on the outside plants if it gets out of control, I saw that damsel flys and lace wings are part of their control and I had both of those this summer, no big eyed bugs yet, the dammage was most noticable in the fall (most everything is dormant now, currently dammage is only on the inside plants) which was probably when the damsel flys and lacewings were not as around cause of the cold.

thanks so much guys, no wonder I was having trouble.

Kristi

    Bookmark   December 16, 2005 at 11:16PM
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earlystart(z7)

try spinospad it is alot safer then neem.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2005 at 11:12PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

The resource guide from Cornell kind of indicates that spinosad, from Dow AgroScience, has not yet been accepted by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI). I would use extreme caution with this until much more is known about it.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 6:51AM
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snakeoil

Spinosad is mixed up in a variety of ways -- some of which include synthetic addititives which means that those chemicals wouldn't be allowed.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 11:35AM
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