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Thrips? Tiny orange-yellow bugs, less than 2mm

Posted by sirmatthew 4 - Iowa ( on
Sun, Jun 5, 11 at 14:22

This year, I noticed particularly, my white peonies - the only ones to bloom yet, have TONS of these TINY, TINY, orangish-yellow bugs, that appear to be thrips - they look like they could be Western Flower Thrips BUT, I don't really see any flower damage. I always soak my peony blooms in water before I bring them inside, but I still have a ton of those things crawling on them. I have a 15x magnifier, and they are still a bit hard to see, so I can't produce a photo, but I wondered if anyone else has noticed these things. I don't see any on the leaves, as it seems they like the sweetness of the bloom. I've noticed them last year, but there were very few, and soaking the flowers seemed to get rid of them but this year is very buggy in Iowa. WET WET WET and then it got HOT. I'm going to treat the peony after I remove the rest of the blooms - I usually bring them ALL inside to enjoy the fragrance. Any ideas on what else this could be if it is NOT a thrip?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Thrips? Tiny orange-yellow bugs, less than 2mm

Sirmatthew, I am sorry for adding reply without an answer to your question, but I have the same! I am in Iowa too. They are skin color, because they sometimes get on my hands and I can barely see them unless they move. They also bite (but then everything bites me). So, they are also on light colored clematis. And only on my white peonies too! And I also cut and brought peonies home, but had to take them outside immediately, so many of those little things were on the petals. I too can't see any damage. Also can't see them on any pink or red peonies. I was also wondering if they are thrips.. Except, I can't say it was too wet here and then hot. It was cold, unusually dry, and then HOT. I took a couple pictures, but those bugs are like tiny dots, only slightly visible when the picture is open 100%.
Here they are

On the left petal


RE: Thrips? Tiny orange-yellow bugs, less than 2mm


I did additional research, and I am 99% certain that these are Western Flower Thrips. While they do not generally cause damage, if brought inside, they can infest indoor flowers.

I do a soak of my peonies before bringing them inside to get rid of ants on the blossoms, but apparently those thrips can withstand a greater time underwater! I soaked mine for 45 minutes and brought them inside and it seems as if MOST of them are gone. The water doesn't seem to have any adverse affect on the blooms, since they usually withstand the rain pretty well.

Now, to practical matters. What do we do to get rid of these. There are a number of beneficial insects that will help get rid of them, but, I have found, that these seldom work. And not to mention expensive. What sucks is that they are on the blooms, which makes chemical controls a problem as well. If you Google the thrips and beneficials, you should be able to find a good selection. I am beyond that at this point. I see that my iris are also infested, although to a lesser extent. Diatomaceous Earth can be a good way, if used carefully to get them, BUT, again, they need to come in contact with it. I have a systemic organophosphate that I am going to use so that I can get the bugs without having to get the flowers. It has Acephate AND Fenbutaine Oxide, both will kill thrips, and since Acephate is systemic, it will get them without application to the flowers, although the time to get to the flowers probably won't matter THIS year. It will probably help your clematis. I am SURE there will be plenty of people with help on the non-chemical side. I used to be all chemicals - spray the nastiest thing I could find, and now that is a last resort, but these tiny things, in my view warrant it! By the way, LOVE your peony pics. I think we have at least one white variety in common, althoug I forget the name!

Sorry for my long-windedness! You are the ONLY reply I have had - and I posted in the Pests/Diseases forum as well! Good luck!!!!

RE: Thrips?

Thanks, Sirmatthew!
I'll also try to post at daylily forum, because that's what I'm worried about. What's that systemic called and can I buy it at Walmart and the like?
I have neem oil one and one with potassium salts (??) I guess.
About the peony, it's the same plant, but I have another white. And I am trying to find their names. I am going to post the pics here, but this forum seems to be slow. This white one looks like the picture and description of Klehm's Charlie's White. But I already understood that it's difficult to ID peonies.

RE: Thrips? Tiny orange-yellow bugs, less than 2mm

Hi there, I have the same issue this year with my white peonies very very tiny orange bugs...I do not believe they are western thrips because I looked at photo's and they are not the same. There are so many I haven't event bothered trying to get rid of them to bring my flowers in the house...It sucks they are so pretty but I don't want the bugs in the house. Good luck to us both.

RE: Thrips? Tiny orange-yellow bugs, less than 2mm

I think I might have these too. Last night after mowing I weeded my peony bed and noticed all the new buds were dried up & dieing :(
There's little yellow bugs the size of a speck of dust all over all the peony blooms & buds. All of the blooms have lost their petals.
It appears these are killing the buds & blooms - there's a ton of them and the ants seem to be avoiding the little guys instead of chasing them away.

Any chemical ideas would be appreciated - I usually do organic but these bugs seem to be really hurting the plants. All of the rain & flooding seems to be bringing weird bug issues this year.
In the peony bed I have an Iris, Lamium, Geranium, a couple daffodils & a Mum planted too...

I'm in South Eastern Nebraska if that helps...

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