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How to Get Rid of Thrips in the Grow Room

Whether you’re growing your indoor garden in soil, coco coir, or hydroponics, you may come across thrips. These insects often plague grow rooms and destroy plants before you even realise they were there.  

If you’re wondering how to get rid of thrips in your groom room, we’ve provided a few tips:


What are Thrips?

Thripidae, or thrips, are tiny insects measure between 1 mm and 1.5 mm and, similarly to aphids, drain plant juices. They’re related to termites, lice, and locusts, laying enormous amounts of very small eggs inside slits in plant tissue.

They can be brown, yellow, or black and rapidly become an issue in grow rooms - you’ll often only realise your plants are affected months into the damage being already done. There are more than 6,000 species of these slim insects. They don’t fly very well in spite of having wings, and the wind can often help carry them 


How do Thrips Get in the Grow Room?

  • Eggs are brought into the grow room on clothes or shoes.

  • If you’re using soil, the eggs could already be in the medium.

  • Thrips can get in the grow room through windows or ventilation.

Alone, a single thrip will generally be harmless, however, they multiply very quickly and decimate crops. In addition, these insects often also act as vectors for several plant viruses that can cause further harm to your plants. 


Feeding 

A thrip infestation is noticeable due to the leaves’ surfaces having a silvery appearance. This is more prevalent on the underside of the leaves - and you might even notice it before you see the insects themselves.

This is when big numbers of thrips will be problematic; a small amount of leaf damage doesn’t tend to be an issue, however, large numbers of thrips can strip leaf surfaces and remove all nutrients.

With indoor gardens, plants don’t benefit from predatory insects that prey on thrips and help control their numbers. In grow rooms, these tiny insects will quickly get out-of-hand and cause leaves to dry, curl, and die.


How to Get Rid of Thrips

Bugicide or predatory insects can help prevent thrips or control them, but prevention is always preferred. The short lifecyle of only a few weeks means you likely need to repeat Bugicide applications a few times so you can accurately target both adults and nymphs.

  • Lacewings. Although there’s a wide variety of lacewing species, the green lacewing tends to be preferred due to its ease of cultivation in grow rooms. The larvae consume a large amount of food every day, particularly thrips, aphids, or mealybugs.

  • Ladybirds. The cheapest and easiest to cultivate, however, not the most efficient as a thrips predator.

  • Thrips predators. These predators are very similar to spider mites but they feed on both egg and larval stages of thrips. 

  • Pirate bugs. Larger than mites and great thrip predators, pirate bugs can eat thrips through all stages of their lifecycle in addition to eating aphids and mites.

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