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Thrips are very small insects that are almost invisible to the naked eye. Without a magnifying glass, thrips look like tiny black stripes on top of plant's leaves. Thrips are one of the most feared pests among growers. They are difficult to control, even if the damage to the plant is minimal and they can spread to other plants at a lightning speed because of their wings. While they are a little less dangerous in a living room compared to a greenhouse, it is still important that a thrips infection be controlled, as quickly as possible.
Thrips prick the leaves of plants in search of nutrients. The pricks then leave gray spots on your plant's leaves, which are the easiest and earliest signs of a thrips infection. Thrips can also infect your plant with a virus, which is the most dangerous aspect about thrips, as viruses can easily cause a plant to die.
Thrips are very difficult to control. Over the years, thrips have become immune to many of today's most commonly used pesticides. And because they can fly, it is also very difficult to eliminate an entire colony. Despite this, chemical pesticides are still the most commonly used method of eliminating a thrips infection. But if pesticides are not your preferred method of choice, another remedy you can try is a solution of soft yellow soap (20g per litre of water) and 10ml of spirit or methanol. Spray this solution over your plant several times a week until the pests have disappeared.
The thrips like warmer temperatures and low humidity. During the winter when it is too cold, thrips live about 8cm underground in plant pots. In the spring, they emerge again to reproduce.
It is quite difficult to prevent thrips, especially since they can fly. Therefore, pay attention to whether you see gray spots on your plant. The sooner you can fight this infection, the better.