Denise Attaway  |  12/22/2010 10:08:35 PM

Adult thrips have two pairs (four) of wings that are "fringed" with hairs. Photo courtesy of Rufus Isaacs, Michigan State University Entomology.

Damage to blueberries by thrips. Photo by Jerry A. Payne, USDA/ARS.

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Thrips are small, narrow insects with “fringed wings.” Adult thrips have two pairs (four) of wings that are “fringed” with hairs. Flower thrips in the genus Frankliniella attack blueberries in southeastern and western United States. They feed on the floral tissues, interfering with crop yield. Scirtothrips are also pest of blueberries and feed on young leaves.


  • The Florida flower thrips, Frankliniella bispinosa (Morgan), and western flower thrips, F. occidentalis (Pergande), are the two most common species that feed on blueberries in the South, including Florida, Georgia and Mississippi Thrips are very small – ¼-inch long.
  • Adult male thrips are smaller than adult female thrips.
  • They deposit their eggs in leaf tissues or flower buds.
  • Immature thrips typically have four instars. The first two instars lack wings and are referred to as larval instars. These initial two instars do minimal feeding on plant tissues and flowers. The last two instars are called pro-pupa and pupa, respectively. They have wings but do not feed.
  • Adults depending on species feed on blueberry tissues and floral parts.
  • Thrips can have up to eight generations per year depending on location.


  • In the South, Frankliniella species feed exclusively on flowers but can damage the fruit depending on infestation.
  • Scirtothrips will feed on young foliage during the summer in the Southeast.
  • In the Northeast, thrips feed on new flush all summer.
  • Damage to blueberry bushes in the Northeast includes shoot stunting, leaf deformation, shortened internodes and stem scarring.


  • Beat branches or shake foliage/flowers onto a sheet of white paper, beating tray or sheet. Sample at least 10 bushes in two sections of the field (border and interior).
  • Adult thrips can be monitored by using white sticky traps. Use at least two traps per acre.


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