Avocado Thrips Pest Management

  • Apr 17, 2013

Sampling for avocado thrips

  • Use magnifying equipment to examine the undersides of leaves and small fruit for the presence of thrips.
  • Avocado thrips are highly attracted to yellow sticky cards. Sticky cards can be a very useful tool for monitoring the number of adult thrips and where they are headed within the grove.
  • Growers should consult an expert who can distinguish the various thrips species on the yellow sticky cards.
  • It is advisable to have a qualified pest control advisor (PCA) monitor thrips populations.

Biological control of avocado thrips

  • Natural enemies include green lacewing larvae, a predaceous thrips, Franklinothrips orizabensis, and predatory mites, in particular Euseius hibisci.

Cultural control of avocado thrips

  • Coarse composted organic yard waste mulch may suppresses avocado thrips pupation because it harbors a more diverse fauna of natural enemies.

Chemical management of avocado thrips

  • In developing a strategy for managing avocado thrips, a grower should consider a large number of interrelated factors including tree size and vigor (which may affect the amount and timing of leaf flushes which avocado thrips prefer), the past history of avocado thrips population dynamics and fruit scarring experienced in the grove and surrounding regions, the amount of leaf flush and/or small fruit present, whether these fruit are the major “set” or additional fruit sets are expected, avocado thrips levels, natural enemy levels, grove topography, spray equipment availability, and the grower’s tolerance for fruit scarring and interest in avoiding pesticide resistance development by avocado thrips.
  • One should also consider that the weather and the timing and amount of leaf flushes and avocado fruit sets can vary tremendously from year to year.
  • Just because avocado thrips caused significant fruit scarring one year, or in a particular grove, does not mean that this or other nearby groves will have economic avocado thrips levels in subsequent years. Many groves do not need to be treated for avocado thrips control and as a general principle, if practical it is best to withhold treatments as long as possible. 

Under ideal circumstances and if practical, treatments should not be applied until it is clear that economic levels of avocado thrips are present during significant fruit set and are likely to cause economically significant damage. A best practice is to employ a knowledgeable pest control advisor to assist with scouting and decision-making.