Onion thrips

Thrips tabaci

The color of adult thrips is dependent on their food, most light brown to light yellow with brown-gray colored wings. The antennae are short, both of the adult thrips as the larvae. The adult thrips is 0.8 -1.2 mm. The species is very similar to the western flower thrips Frankliniella occidentalis

adult onion thrips

Damage and distribution in the crop::

The thrips is found on all parts of the plant, but has a preference for the younger leaves in the heart of the plant. The thrips usually sits at the underside of the leaves along the major veins. Pupation generally takes place in the ground. The thrips are very active. If they are disturbed, they crawl away quickly. Adult thrips can fly and do that sometimes, especially when they are disturbed. They feed by puncturing leaf cells and sucking the contents. Puntured plant cells turn into silvery white spots. In case of severe infestation leaves wilt, dry out and die. In onions, this leads to smaller bulbs.

Onion thrips is a known vector of virus; several species among them tomato spotted wilt virus.

lifecycle onion thrips:

  • development time 10-20 days
  • eggs in leaves and petioles
  • 80-100 eggs per female
  • egg stage lasts relatively long
  • lifetime 30-35 days
  • several generations per year
  • Males very rare
  • parthenogenetic reproduction

hostplants onion thrips:

  • several greenhouse food crops as well as ornamental greenhouse crops
  • tomato, bean, cucumber
  • cabbage, onions
  • bulbous crops

Products agaisnt onion thrips:

Amblyseius swirskii:


Orius laevigatus:


Neoseiulus cucumeris:


Amblydromalus limonicus:


Franklinothrips vespiformis:


Stratiolaelaps scimitus:


Macrocheles robustulus: