How to recognize western flower thrips 

Adult western flower thrips are approximately 1.3-1.4 mm in size, light yellow to dark brown in color and have two long wings that align with the body. This species is easily mistaken for onion thrips (Thrips tabaci), but the western flower thrips is usually a little lighter. The larvae are more yellow to orange and do not have wingsThe eggs are kidney-shaped, white and about 0.2 mm. The eggs are deposited inside plant tissue, which makes them difficult to spot. Occasionallydeformation of leaves occurs at the site where thrips have laid their eggs. 

Western flower thrips Frankliniella occidentalis nimph
Western flower thrips nimph
Western flower thrips Frankliniella occidentalis pupa
Western flower thrips pupa

Western flower thrips damage and distribution 

Adult western flower thrips are usually found in the upper parts of the plant. Ththrips will aggregate in flower buds, if present, to feed from the pollen. They will extract sap from the petals, which causes spots on the flowers. Most damage is done by nymphs, which feed on leaves, growth tips and young flower buds. On leaves, thrips feeding causes silver-gray spots with dark dots, which are caused by thrips feces. Punctured buds show deformations or are completely stunted or withered. Western flower thrips is known for being a vector of tomato spotted wilt virus.  

Life cycle western flower thrips

  • 50 - 100 eggs per female
  • development: 7 - 20 days at 25 ⁰C
  • pupate in the soil
  • lifespan adult: one to several weeks
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Common thrips species

Echinothrips
Orchid thrips
Onion thrips
Greenhouse thrips
Palm thrips
Western flower thrips

Banded greenhouse thrips