Pests are a pain. Thrips are on the list of one of the more common pests that you may find taking up residence in your hydroponic garden.
Don’t thrip out, I’ve got you covered. Here’s what you need to know about thrips; how to identify them and rid them from your hydroponic garden.
What Are Thrips?
Thrips are long, slender, winged insects. There are thousands of varieties of thrips, some of which could actually be beneficial as they eat other insects. Some varieties though prefer to feed on your hydroponic garden.
Especially for hobby hydroponic gardeners, telling different verities of thrips apart is too difficult, so it’s best to treat your indoor garden at any sign of a thrip infestation.
Thrips hang out on the underside of plant leaves and can sometimes blend in pretty well. They are also fast and will jump or fly away quickly when they feel your presence.
Cool fact, thrips don’t need to mate to reproduce. Thrip females can produce up to 80 eggs, the time they take to hatch can be days to months depending on the temperature. They lay eggs in slits that make in the plant’s stem.
How Thrips Affect A Hydroponic Garden
Thrips enjoy munching on all the different parts of the plants, feeding on the stem, leaves, flowers, and fruit. Plants typically react to thrip infestation first with discoloration. Plants affected by thrips often show white or yellow spots and may appear to have a silvery sheen.
Thrips damage can leave the plant susceptible to a range of other bacteria and diseases that can create other issues. They are also known to carry a few plant viruses, tomato spotted wilt virus) for example.
How To Determine If You Have Thrips In Your Hydroponic Garden
As stated above, thrips can be hard to see as they sometimes blend in with the plant and can also move rather quickly. Since they often hang out in groups on the underside of leaves, that’s the best place to start looking.
Adult thrips have wings. So when you disturb the plant you may see them dart off quickly. You may also see their droppings, which look like black specs, on leaves.
How To Prevent Thrip Problems
Cleaning up debris and maintain a tidy garden is the main way to prevent pests like thrips from infesting your hydroponic garden.
Enclosing your hydroponic garden with a grow tent is a great way of creating a barrier between your garden and pests like thrips. In addition to keeping out pests, using a grow tent also has its many other advantages.
How To Save Your Hydroponic Garden From Thrips
Now to solving the thrip infestation in your hydroponic garden.
Garden Safe Products
Neem oil is a go-to pest control product for hobby hydroponic gardeners. It’s effective against many different types of pests including thrips.
Neem oil is easy to use, simply mix it with some dish soap following the directions on the bottle and spray on your plant.
Insecticide soap is effective when dealing with smaller infestations of many different types of pests, including blossom thrips. This soap is safe to spray on all parts of the plant including the fruit.
Wanting to solve the thrip infestation in your hydroponic garden without any commercial products? Here are some predatory insects you can add to your hydroponic garden that will eat away at your thrip problem.
I’m going to introduce insects into my garden for pest control it’s going to be ladybugs. It’s probably because we become familiar with the bug as a kid, but it doesn’t seem as “gross” as releasing other predatory insects like mites in my hydroponic garden. It’s pretty cool to see the ladybugs in action.
Neoseiulus Amblyseius Cucumeris (Predatory Mite)
To keep it simple, we’re just going to call these guys predatory mites. They are tiny translucent mites that attack the thrips and suck out their juices. These mites do a good job of feasting on thrips in your hydroponic garden without much visual presence.
Below is a sample of a mite in action!
The key to successfully handling a pest problem like thrips is early detection. The treatment of small infestations is relatively simple. Checking your hydroponic garden on a regular basis for signs of thrips and any other pest can save you time and money in the long run.