... growing and hybridizing all kinds of plants in zone 6b Maryland since the 1980's.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Thrips trouble

The last two seasons of indoor seed starting haven't gone very well. Last year, damping off was a big problem, but so far so good this year for that. Still, I'm battling with thrips though. You wouldn't think such a tiny bug would be capable of so much damage, but they pretty much killed any kale seedling last year (that didn't die from damping off first). This year I've been hand "squishing/rubbing" every one I see, pretty much daily. That's kept the damage to an acceptable level, but if I miss a day...
If anyone knows of a good organic trick for combatting these little pests on indoor plantings, please let me know. The first year I had so much trouble with them that I grudgingly resorted to trying pyrethrin spray but that didn't seem to make any difference.

Here are the tell tale white speckled areas that the thrips have caused on a small kale seedling.
This bigger kale seedling also has some spots and you can see one of the thrips in the very center of the picture [red arrow].
 And a little closer...


  1. Sorry, can't help :/ Maybe a quick blast of cold air will work?

  2. Thanks Jakub, I'll consider trying that next time they get out of control. The hand squishing kept them in check long enough for me to get the kales planted outside and they haven't [so far] been too bad on the other plants I've currently got in the basement.
    I also saw somewhere that they're attracted to blue diodes, so maybe I could make a trap to catch them at night when the other lights are off.

  3. Funny about the attraction to blue light. I noticed blue paper catches some gnats, too.

    I had a blue-light bug trap which electrocuted bugs, proceeded to electrocute myself and a hosta.

  4. That's too funny!!! I'll try to avoid using the electric trap and maybe just get myself tangled up in sticky cards. ;0)