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• Featured Creature: Common Blossom Thrips
When scouting for the invasive tomato thrips, look at blossoms rather than leaves, and continue for several weeks after the blossoms appear.
Those are the recommendations from a group of University of Florida researchers based at the Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, according to a news release.
They published their research in the June issue of the journal Bulletin of Entomological Research.
The three-year study, which looked at thrips distribution in the fields and on individual plants, involved commercial fields near Homestead.
The researchers found the thrips first appeared on blossoms of cucumbers planted near the edges of fields, having moved in from nearby weeds.
By eight weeks after planting, the fields had developed hot spots of high thrips density.
On individual plants, the thrips congregated around blossoms.
After all, the researchers pointed out—tomato thrips, also known as common blossom thrips—are members of the flower thrips family.
The results also show that growers may not need to make a blanket pesticide application across the entire field.
If scouting shows only hot spots, then growers may be able to apply insecticides only in and around the localized infestations, according to the release.