Because the thrips sucks on the plant to feed, it causes damage to leaves, flowers and fruits. The ovary is particularly sensitive to damage. As the leaves are sucked out, silver-brown spots are formed. The thrips is known for its adaptability. There are various species, but the most well-known are the western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis) and the tobacco thrips (Thrips tabaci). In addition, the Echinothrips americanus is an emerging plague in the ornamental plant sector.
Thrips has six development stages. The thrips female lays eggs; as many as 75 to 125 at the ideal temperature. There are two larval stages, a prepupal and pupal stage and the adult stage. The larvae are very active and mobile. The thrips pupates on the underside of the leaf or on the ground, particularly in crops grown in the open such as Chrysanthemums and organic vegetables under glass.
- Thrips can easily transmit bacteria and viruses. The western flower thrips can transmit the tomato spotted wilt virus.
- In ornamental crops, discoloration damages leaves and flowers.
- In fruit crops damage can lead to disfigured fruit.