Common Name: Thrips Scientific name: Thripidae (family)
Adult thrips migrate to seedling rice from wild and cultivated hosts. Once on the plants they mate, deposit eggs, and larvae hatch from those eggs. Larvae mature to the adult stage. Both larvae and adults feed on young rice plants.
Damage caused by mite: Both larvae and adults feed on young rice plants. Thrips injure plants by using a scraping mouth part to tear the leaf tissue, and then extract the plant liquids. This injury causes desiccation and is typically not a problem, except during dry, windy conditions.
Facts: It is important to scout early and often for thrips. Under certain conditions, they can build up quickly and suddenly cause crop injury on rice seedlings. They are usually noticed after their feeding injury has caused the seedlings to take on a yellow color and a stunted appearance.
What should you look for: Thrips often can be found on the leaf sheath near the collar or inside the leaf sheath. They will quickly run or hop when disturbed.
How you can manage thrips: Four practices to discourage thrips populations and damage: 1. flushing or flooding, which drowns the insects and forces them to move up the plant, where they are more vulnerable to natural control; 2. controlling weeds, which prevents thrips from building up on alternate hosts; 3. establishing a healthy, uniform stand of rice; 4. reducing early-season stress caused by inadequate soil moisture, high winds, herbicide injury, nutrient imbalances and damage from other pest insects and diseases (Texas Rice Production Guidelines, 2012). In Louisiana, the number of thrips in rice field is usually below levels justifying treatment, but they may increase rapidly under favorable conditions and yield losses can occur.