THRIPS!!! Help! They're Driving me Crazy!

snowflake-rosaJune 18, 2008

Hello! I have a white hybrid tea planted with alyssum and gives a very good show of blossoms but is plagued by blackspot and thrips. (Yes, I know thrips are attracted to white, but it's my favorite rose.) The blackspot is under control but the thrips will not leave. They get into the bud while it's opening and cause horrid discolorations. They look like little red slits crawling over the white petals. I've tried drowning them, spraying them, removing infected blooms the works. I'm at my wit's end, but I don't know how to get rid of them! Please help, I don't want to lose anymore blooms to these annoying pests.

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Thrips have a very short life, but they can be very destructive in that very short time, there can be as many as 15 generations each year. For control encourage predators to be there, Pirate Bugs, Lacewings, Lady beetles, and that means not using broad spectrum poisons which will eliminate those predators. Blue and Yellow sticky traps can catch adult Thrips, if they do not mate and do not lay eggs that will help reduce the population, and diligent use of Insecticidal Soaps can help. The broad spectrum poisons, such as the Neem Oil products, Pyrethrin based dusts and sprays should be used only if absolutely necessary.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 7:09AM
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Thanks for the advice. Are there any 'at home' remedies that you know of? I won't be able to get to a nusery for the Insecticidal Soap for a while.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 6:36PM
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You can make Insecticidal Soap at home by mixing 1 teaspoon of a real soap (any soap still made by reacting fats, animal or vegetable, with lye) in 1 quart of water.
Do not use liquid dish soap (a detergent really) or any other liquid type soap.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 7:38AM
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I have been organic my whole life and the best I have found is neem oil. I have no problems with and no pest. you said you need something from around the home.

a. 1-2 cups of alcohol to 1 quart (32oz) of water (not my choice of spray)

b. chop, grind, liquify one garlic bulb and one small onion, add one teaspoon of powdered cyenne pepper mix with 1 quart of water. steep one hour strain through cheese cloth or similar add one tablespoon of liquid soap ( i use ivory liquid and not hard soap and most organic gardening books will say to use the liquid nowadays), spray on in morning or afternoon all over

c. 32oz. water, 1 teaspoon ivory liquid, 1 tablespoon veg oil spray on in the morning or afternoon all over

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 1:53PM
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Thnaks. I try. I read somewhere that allium plants repel thrips? Anybody know if there is truth to this?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 8:20PM
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triple_b(BC 5b)

kimmsr gave me this link about ladybeetles.
just make sure you release them in the cool of the evening, as it is getting dark or they will be too active and leave right away. (Coming from someone who did just that).

Here is a link that might be useful: lady bugs as pest control

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 7:29PM
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Members of the Allium family, garlic, onions, etc. all have been found to have some repellent properties when planted in the same bed as the target plant, prividing they are planted some time in advance. So the protective properties are not easily transferable and need time to do that.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 7:18AM
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triple_b(BC 5b)

didn't work for me. mine have chives in all of them (lanted well in advance) and I still am plagued by thrips. ONe thing the chives seem to work great for: PM and BS. I have had none.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 4:41PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Kimmsr should not be emphasizing that neem oil is a broad spectrum pesticide, because it is less one than the elusive soap remedies he suggests. Neem targets critters that FEED ON PLANTS, either by munching on them or by sucking the juices. Neem, by the way, is highly recommended for the control of thrips on roses. It will also help prevent and/cure outbreaks of PM and BS.

Ivory liquid is not a true soap but a detergent. It may have once been manufactured as a soap (though I don't know that) but not now. It also has many of the additives that make liquid dish and hand soaps so harsh on plants (and people).

If you can locate a true soap, be sure that it does not have added ingredients (like fragrances and emulsifiers), but is pure. Insecticidal soaps fit that category.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 2:55PM
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Many people, wrongly, assume that if an insect is not listed as one of the targets the poison does not kill them, but all that means is that that insect is not one of the targets. There is no insecticide so specific that it can distinguish between beneficial insects and insect pests and they all kill any insect they contact or that the insects ingests, depending on how this is supposed to work. Neem Oil products are fairly long lasting and can adversly affect the life of beneficial insects as well as those pests, although it is of less toxicity than some other insecticides out there.
Very few liquid soaps were ever real soaps, most are detergents and should not be used to mix that insecticidal soap. Knowing where what you buy comes from is important for anyone that practices Organic Gardening.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 7:46AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Again, one more time: to be effective, neem needs to be ingested by an insect. Insects that feed on plants by chewing leaves or by sucking plant juices are generally considered pests when their populations are high. Thus, neem is most effective on those species that are pests. It does have a residual quality, but only for those insects which are feeding.

Neem should not be used without caution and deliberation, as with any pest control measure.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 12:12PM
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shadygarden_CO(z5 Denver)

Does the Cornell formula (Ultrafine oil plus baking soda) target the same insects as Neem oil? In other words, does it kill beneficial insects such as ladybugs? Apparently there is some controversy about whether Neem oil extracts kill beneficial insects, but I am just wondering if the Cornell formula is about the same?


    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 3:14PM
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Your goal, as an Organic Gardener, should be to get your soil into a good, healthy condition so you can grow strong and healthy plants that are less desireable to insect pests and plant diseases and if those do appear the plant can shrug them off. There are many people, even "long time" organic gardeners that do not quite grasp that concept so they need to find these expensive pesticides and disease controls to protect their plants. As an Organic Gardener you should not be simply switching from one pesticide to another, your goal should be to eliminate the need for them altogether and that can be done if you get your soil into that good, healthy condition.
The Cornell formula is a fungicide, not a pesticide. While it may well kill some insects it contacts, good, bad, or innocuous, that is not the primary purpose for it.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 7:42AM
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This may sound discouraging, but Organic pest-resistance takes a few years. First you must build up the micro-organisms in the soil. Introduce ladybugs, lace wings, and other "good" pest control bugs, while completely eliminating insecticides, including, maybe especially, the Bayer products which poison the pollen and nectar eating insects, etc. Use John and Bobs soil conditioner with regular additions of mulch, organic fertilizers, and compost. I have roses of all colors, and after 5 years am completely pest free. I also have lots of birds, gnat and fly catchers, hummingbirds (they love the small protein rich insects)and the only problem I notice is a small amount of mildew on roses that are in too much shade. I do use Spinosad for occasional chewing/sucking insects brought in by ants, being careful to apply it to unopened buds, and using a little Neem oil with it to make it stick better, because the ants do bring in and guard some virulent pests. There are a few companies that specialize in friendly ecosystem bacteria, bugs, nematodes, etc., and are worth checking out for ridding specific problems without throwing your organic ecosystem out of wack. Anne

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 10:53PM
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Neem is listed as an apicide on some of its' labels.
Apicide=bee killer.
I used Neem c. a month before I found this out and to my horror found several dead bumblebees inside the blooms of my roses the morning after I sprayed.
I'll never use Neem again in a garden.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 5:51PM
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Just like any other insecticide Neem products can be safely used in the garden, if due care is exercised. Your goal is to spray the target insect and not everything in the garden. Even Insecticidal Soap is a broad spectrum poison, when used improperly.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 7:39AM
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Use neem at night or late evening time when bees are in the hive. You won't kill them. By the next day the neem will be dry and have effectively coated the plant killing PM and soft bodied infects while deterering others. It will also not deter or effect bees negatively at this point because they don't feed on the leaves and it doesn't coat their bodies as it has already dried. :-)

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 4:20PM
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strawchicago 5a IL(zone 5a)

That's a great tip, loveoffoodforests ... thank you. So glad you brought this thread up. I learn lots. No thrips in my garden .. Frederic Mistral rose, known as Mr-Thrips, is freed of insects. I have lots of birds & beneficial insects in the garden.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 5:42PM
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