University of Florida

Flower Thrips

Frankliniella spp.

  • Species: Western flower thrips (WFT) F. occindentalis; Tobacco thrips (TBT) F. fusca; Common blossom thrips (CBT) F. schultzei; Florida flower thrips (FFT) F. bispinosa; Eastern flower thrips (EFT) F. tritici.
  • Adult: tiny (1/64 in.) slender with fringed wings; WFT and FFT dark yellow with brown-lined wings; TBT dark brown or black; CBT pale brown or dark brown; EFT yellow. Adults active and occur most often in flowers.
  • Egg: inserted in plant tissue, especially flower parts and young fruit.
  • Larva: like small adults but lighter in color and wingless; inhabit flowers, terminal buds, and leaves.
  • Pupa: similar to larva but with wing pads; found in soil.
  • Generation Time: 10-30 days.
  • Damage: WFT and TBT vector tomato spotted wilt virus, especially in north Florida. CBT may vector the virus but is not common. Eggs inserted individually in small fruit causes dimples, sometimes with a white area surrounding dimples (WFT). FFT can cause flower abortion and poor fruit set. EFT common in north Florida but not a pest.

Flower Thrip
Image # 7. Flower thrips adult -
adults and nymphs feed primarily in flowers with rasping-sucking mouthparts and may cause premature bloom drop.

Flower Thrip Damage
Image # 15. Flower thrips damage -

dimples may be surrounded by whitish halos;

damage on immature fruit (especially by western flower thrips) appears as dimples on the blossom end.