What are Thrips?
Thrips are small sucking insects that damage their host plants. Known as Thysanoptera in the insect kingdom, these insects are distinguished by their feathery wings and long flat shape. There are currently approximately nine hundred species of thrips in Australia, which are causing problems for gardeners across the country.
How do you know if you have Thrips?
The best way to determine whether or not you have thrips is to take note of the health of your roses’ stems, leaves and flowers. If their leaves have the characteristic thrips ‘silvering’ on their upper side and dark droppings, it’s likely that there are thrips on roses.
If you indeed have thrips on your roses, you may notice them as tiny dark slivers dotted throughout the plant. They’re hard to see and often go unnoticed, which is why the symptoms are more easily detected than the thrips themselves. To diagnose the potential infestation, use a magnifying glass to look at the slivers more closely.
If they look like tiny crayfish, it’s likely that you have thrips.
What do Thrips do to your roses?
Thrips on roses can cause significant problems for gardeners. Thrips generally suck the cells from the stems, leaves and flowers of rose bushes, which then stunts the growth of flowers and causes damage.
Roses that have been damaged by thrips often become streaky or have silvery speckling and small white patches dotted throughout. When the thrips infestation first occurs, patches on your roses may become transparent or be discoloured by black dots.
In addition to feeding on the plant cells within your rose bush, thrips can also spread the viruses they carry to your plant and further damage your roses’ health.
Protecting your Roses
There are a number of steps you can take to protect your plants from thrips and caterpillars. On roses, it is not immediately obvious if you have thrips, as they are small and can go undetected, but once you notice, it is a problem you should get onto straight away.
How to get rid of thrips
It is important to get rid of your thrips infestation as soon as possible. The quickest way to remove thrips from your roses is to gently shake the stems, leaves and flowers until the thrips fall off.
When doing this it is essential to catch the thrips with a cloth to ensure that they don’t fall onto the ground and spread to nearby plants or reinfect your rose bush. Once you’ve shaken off the thrips: prune any infested stems, leaves or flowers and discard them.
Further, placing blue adhesive traps around your garden is a great way to help get rid of and prevent thrips from infesting your garden. Thrips are attracted to the colour blue and will be naturally drawn to the traps. The traps will need to be examined on multiple occasions throughout the week using a magnifying glass.
How to prevent getting thrips
Preventing thrips begins when designing your garden. It’s beneficial to choose plants that attract pirate bugs, ladybugs and lacewings to your garden, as these insects are thrips’ natural predators and are likely to prevent thrips from selecting your roses as host plants. Once you have chosen your plants, avoid over fertilising them as this can lead to the thrips causing more damage.
Additionally, using reflective mulch in your garden is a good preventative measure against thrips. Reflective mulch helps to hide your plants from the insects, helping to prevent your plants from becoming hosts.
Protect your roses
Protecting your roses from thrips is vital to ensure a healthy garden. At Garden Express, we have a large selection of roses and plants that attract thrips’ predators. Have a look today.