This article was written a few years ago, but is still very appropriate today. With the new growth coming out for the Fall season, we have seen an abundance of Chilli Thrips. Inspect your gardens; go to Google to look at images of damage. If you have them, get after them with products listed below!
====== Gardener's Alert ======
Chilli Thrips were found in Bexar County @ 3 years ago. Chilli Thrips differ from the Western Flower Thrips in several respects and can be much more damaging. The Western Flower Thrips usually attack the buds and blooms only and can be controlled by “top spraying” or misting only the buds and blooms. The Chilli Thrips attack the buds, blooms and new foliage as well as mature foliage. Thus, if present, you will need to spray the entire bush. Furthermore, the Chilli Thrips also like and attack about 150 other landscape plants. Therefore, if you have them, you may need to spray your entire landscape.
Visible damage includes a slight “curling” and malformation of new leaves on new growth. Small flower buds will appear as though they have been “eaten on” and will not open. The underside of newer leaves will have dark streaks. Google Chilli Thrips (Images) and you will find a full array of pictures that will help you diagnose the problem.
The good news is that they can be eliminated or controlled with good insecticides. Use Ortho Insect Killer, with acephate, or Bayer Advanced, with Imidacloprid, or Greenlight, with Spinosad (organic), or Conserve, with Spinosad. Follow label directions. You will need to spray 3 – 4 times at a 3 – 4 day interval to get them under control. If not controlled, Chilli Thrips can cause complete defoliation of your plants – and they will die.