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They are very small insects (adults 1-2mm long) with a specialized mouthpiece they use for sucking and rasping. There are different species of thrips that like to feed on flowering plants and vegetables within your garden. To see them you may need a magnifying glass, but they have two pairs of fringed wings and six legs. Adult thrips will vary in colour from yellowish to black depending on the species.

Thrips as sucking insects that will scrape away the surface of a leaf and then suck out the sap. They are usually found on the underside of the leaf. They will distort flowers, fruit and leaves by feeding on the buds. Characteristic tell-tale signs are silvering on the upper surface of the leaf, dark droppings underneath the leaves and dark blemishes on flowers.

The best form of control is prevention, so monitor plants and look for any alterations to your plants as described above. Yellow sticky traps can be used to detect that thrips have invaded your garden. Natural predators include ladybirds, lacewing and predatory mites.

A natural pyrethrum spray such as EarthCare Natural Pyrethrum insect spray can also be used as an environmentally friendly, low-toxic control on trees, shrubs, ornamental and flowering plants, fruit, citrus and vegetables. Spray directly on the pest when they are most active on the plant. When spraying the foliage follow the directions on the back of the pack and spray both sides of the foliage. Repeat applications maybe needed for further control. Remember not to spray when beneficial insects and bees are around.

For more specific control on roses and other ornamental and flowering plants, try EarthCare Black Spot & insect spray. It is a low-toxic treatment that is broad-spectrum and quick knockdown because it gets into the sap stream of the plant very rapidly. Spray directly on the pests when they are most active on the plant. When spraying the foliage follow the directions on the back of the pack and spray both sides of the foliage. Repeat applications maybe needed for further control. Remember not to spray when beneficial insects and bees are around.

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