Thrips are tiny insects that feed on plant sap.
They are a common problem for gardeners and homeowners who grow houseplants.
If you are here to learn how to get rid of thrips on houseplants, your garden must be suffering from these tiny disastrous creatures.
Even if you take great care of your houseplants, thrips can make their way into your garden.
Some people might think that thrips on houseplants are not a big deal. But it can be a huge problem when the infestation gets out of hand, and the thrips start biting or sucking the sap out of the leaves.
Therefore, you must be prompt to get rid of thrips early to avoid considerable losses.
So, how to get rid of thrips on houseplants?
“There are many ways to get rid of thrips on plants, but the most effective way is to use insecticides or neem oil—it can kill them without harming your plants.”
Thrips multiply rapidly and fly around to mess with your garden. It is very frustrating to handle this pest as its quick reproduction makes it difficult to control.
Don’t expect thrips to leave your garden with one spray.
Hence, there is much more you need to know about getting rid of thrips which you can find in this article.
So read on!
- More About the Thrips!
- What Causes a Thrip Infestation?
- Signs of Thrips on Your Houseplants!
- How to Get Rid of Thrips on Houseplants? | The Solutions!
- Prevention Tips!
- Houseplants Care After Thrips Removal
More About the Thrips!
I’m first going to tell you a little more about these annoying creatures; if you want to read the solutions right away, you can navigate via the content table presented above.
Thrips are tiny, slender insects that feed on the fluids of plants and other living things. These insects have pointed tails, wings, and a pair of long, thin antennae. Adult thrips are usually black, while the smaller thrips are typically white or transparent.
Thrips are so tiny that they are difficult to see with the naked eye.
Do Thrips Fly?
Though flying is not their expertise, thrips can fly; they usually crawl from one plant to the other and are rarely found buzzing around. The nymphs, baby thrips, are even smaller, deprived of wings.
Thrips suck plant sap and tissue fluids which can cause severe damage to crops.
Different types of thrips include the Western flower thrips, Onion thrips, and Rice stem sawflies.
Thrips have a life cycle that starts as an egg in the soil or plants. They then hatch into larvae which go through three molts before becoming adults. The eggs are small enough not to be seen by the naked eye. Adult thrips lay eggs which will start the cycle again.
They multiply rapidly, provided suitable conditions.
The life cycle of thrips has three phases:
The life process of reaching from an egg to an adult takes only about two weeks.
Must you be worried that it is a very short period, right?
Here’s the good news:
The adult thrip lives only for a month, but the bad news is that the death of one generation doesn’t help when hundreds or maybe a thousand others exist on your houseplants!
It’s not a pleasure to share another not-very-good news with you:
Various thrips reproduce asexually. It means they don’t need a mate to continue their generation. You can imagine how much spreading potential these little creatures have and how they can damage your garden.
Wait, don’t worry; we are here for your help.
We won’t let these pesky bugs damage your beautiful garden, which you have established by investing time and effort.
Please continue reading to learn how to get rid of thrips on houseplants.
What Causes a Thrip Infestation?
Before we move to clean our houseplants from the thrips, we should discuss the causes that allow these bugs to approach your garden.
This part will help you prevent thrips for your lifetime (a little exaggeration).
A future thrips attack might be possible cause you have leafy greens at home, but you can at least take precautions not to let them freely enter your garden.
Roll down your eyes and find what can cause a thrip infestation:
- Overwatering: Overwatering leads to irrigation problems—the biggest cause of pest infestation in a garden.
- Potting Mix: The potting mix you use for your plants might already be infested.
- The Plant: The houseplants you bring home for decoration can be a house of pests, i.e., thrips. That is why it is always recommended to carefully examine a plant before taking it home.
So, how to get rid of thrips on houseplants?
Let’s get into the main business and look at some signs showing thrips infestation.
Signs of Thrips on Your Houseplants!
If you see the following signs on your houseplant, the enemies have unfortunately invaded your garden.
- Little rice-like flecks on your plant (barely visible)
- Deformed and slow plant growth
- Foliage loses its density
- Stippling appears on the leaves
- Discolored leaves
- Leaves start to fade away
- Tiny black specs on the leave’s surface
If you are still suspicious about thrips infestation, we recommend using a magnifying glass for a closer examination.
Related article: How to Get Rid of Harmful Pests of Your Garden?
How to Get Rid of Thrips on Houseplants? | The Solutions!
After spotting and identifying thrips on your houseplants, you will need to do the things mentioned below.
Be careful to follow these instructions.
1. Keep an Eye on Your Garden
To keep your garden at bay from infestation, you must examine it from time to time.
If you don’t have time for this, ensure hiring a professional gardener to take care of your plants.
Don’t forget in your busy schedule that plants are living beings that need your regular attention and time, or they will perish.
2. Isolate the Infested Plant
When someone asks how to get rid of thrips on houseplants, there is a probability that the bugs have not yet spread to all houseplants.
From the above advice, if you are keeping an eye on your plant babies, you will know at an early stage about thrips infestation for sure.
The first thing you have to do after spotting these bugs is to isolate the infected houseplants.
It will help prevent cross-contamination.
Remember, thrips could quickly move around to infest your entire houseplant collection in a short interval.
3. Removing Infected Parts
Pruning is one of the best ways to keep plants away from pests.
If some of your houseplants are smitten with a thrips infestation, pruning will be the saver.
It would help if you regularly pruned, as a lack of pruning leads to dense foliage, which is the favorite living place for bugs—it gives them much room to hide. Prune dead branches and thicker parts of the plant saves your garden.
Moreover, you should also remove any tall grasses or weeds around your garden as thrips crawl through these areas to your favorite plants.
Remember not to give thrips any chance to come at any rate—you may not realize it before it’s too late.
If you notice a few thrips at a very early stage, handpicking can be a solution (wearing gloves).
We recommend these methods as we try our best not to contaminate our environment with chemicals that destroy helpful bugs also. However, when things go out of your hand, then chemical treatment becomes necessary.
Another best organic way of removing thrips is spritzing.
These tiny insects are found on leaves mostly, and you can easily spray on leaves to wash them off.
A simple spray bottle filled with regular water will do the magic.
It would help if you were consistent with this method, spritzing daily for about a week or two to clear the infestation up.
6. Give Your Plants a Bath
Another environmentally friendly thing which we suggest to you on how to get rid of thrips on houseplants is plant showering.
- Place your houseplant in a sink and spray it down with water. Lukewarm water is the best option in this respect.
- Also, gently leather your plants and leaves with mild dish soap (or insecticide soap).
- Make sure you reach all the areas of the plants so that no trip remains.
- Leave the plant with the leather on for about half an hour, then rinse, and your plant is good to go.
Now, it’s time to do some serious stuff for a bad infestation.
Insecticides will kill thrips, but they also might kill other insects you don’t want to get rid of.
However, chemical treatment is the final option you have to treat pests in the garden.
It is recommended to use natural plant oils to lessen the thrips count to cause less damage to your surroundings.
If the infestation is heavier, it would be best to use a minimally toxic insecticide to smother the insects.
A single treatment with insecticidal spray won’t suffice. You must conduct 3–4 practical insecticide spray sessions to get the desired results.
8. Neem Oil
Neem oil is less toxic and will not harm other insects, but it might take a few weeks before it kills the thrips.
Neem oil smothers the adult thrips and acts as a repellant on your leaves against pests. You can spread readymade neem oil or make a DIY spray:
- Take a gallon of water.
- Mix one tablespoon of neem oil and one teaspoon of liquid or insecticidal soap.
- Once thoroughly mixed, emulsify this oil mixture in water, making a 1:3 blend.
- Add the emulsified mixture to the gallon of water.
- Use a spray bottle to apply this mixture to your plants.
- Don’t repeat it within 24 hours again.
- Suppose you see no side effects of this mixture on plants. You can now mist it on your houseplants.
Continue the treatment as needed, but the use of neem oil is not recommended more than twice a week.
9. Thrips’ Natural Predators
The best organic way to eliminate thrips is to get help from their natural predators, i.e., Pirate bugs, Amblyseius cucumeris, Lacewings, Ladybugs, and Amblyseius swirskii. You are advised to plant certain flowers to attract beneficial insects.
10. Last Option
If you notice that the infestation remains after every treatment, you must discard your houseplant with a heavy heart.
Don’t worry; your new green babies will grow up within no time, and you must ensure they remain safe from any pest infestation.
Throw your last infested plant carefully by sealing it into a grocery bag, so the thrips don’t escape.
In a nutshell, here are some tips on saving your houseplants from thrips infestation.
- Replace old soil with fresh soil which is not infested with bugs.
- Use insecticidal soap or neem oil solution to kill bugs hiding in the soil.
- Keep your plants away from pets; do not let them eat any leaves or flowers.
- Try not to water your plants daily as they need time to dry out between watering sessions, especially during winter when it is cold outside.
- Make sure your trees are potted using the right soil mixture.
- Don’t over or under-fertilize your plants.
- Ensure your houseplants are placed right and get enough sunlight, as sunlight protects them from infestation.
With these caring techniques, thrips will find it challenging to infest your houseplants.
Houseplants Care After Thrips Removal
After removing thrips from your houseplants, cleaning the area where they live is crucial. It includes the following:
- Use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol and wipe off the leaves of your plants.
- Vacuum the floor and furniture around your houseplants.
- Dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag responsibly after you are finished.
- If you use a wet cloth or brush to wipe away thrips, rinse it with water and allow it to dry before using it again.
- Make sure the soil of houseplants is loose enough for proper drainage.
- Cut away any leaves that show signs of a thrips attack.
- Lastly, watch your houseplants for any signs of renewed infestation. If you see more bugs after a week, give it a second spray with insecticide.
That would be all!
Here’s a Youtube video that can be of help!
That said, let’s head toward the conclusion.
A perfect landscape or garden must eradicate all pests, so they don’t damage anything.
It is especially true if we are talking about our favorite houseplants. This article briefly answers how to get rid of thrips on houseplants.
The abovementioned treatments will kill adult thrips, their eggs, and larvae.
You can also use natural predators to keep thrips populations under control. With a bit of patience and some TLC, your plants should return to their old self in no time.
Give us your feedback if this article was helpful!