Are you tired of battling pesky thrips in your grow room or greenhouse? Look no further than Thripor (Orius insidiosus), the perfect solution for your growing space! This tiny predatory bug is a powerful tool in Integrated Pest Management systems (IPM), and with a little knowledge and preparation, you can use it to keep your plants healthy and thriving.
Thripor (Orius insidiosus) is a common predatory bug that has been widely used in IPM-programs in North America for over 20 years, especially playing a key role in the management of common thrips species. Over time, it has become more popular, as it provides an effective, environmentally friendly alternative to chemical pesticides. Orius can be released into greenhouses or grow rooms when thrips populations are low to moderate (before significant damage is caused to your plants), or curatively in high thrips situations when you need to maximize thrips control.
One important key factor when implementing Thripor into your IPM program is knowing that they diapause. Diapause is a state of dormancy that allows insects to survive unfavorable conditions such as winter or drought. During diapause, the bug reduces its metabolic rate, stops feeding and reproducing, going into a state of rest until conditions become favorable again. Thripor specifically goes into facultative diapause, which occurs when the insect is exposed to short days (less than 14 hours) and cool temperatures.
In Canada, in an unlit greenhouse, when using Thripor preventatively and wanting them to establish, it is best not to apply Thripor from the end of September to the end of March of the following year, between, wk 39 and wk 12. However, they can be used year-round in greenhouses with artificial lighting provided the day lengths are extended (14 plus hours). The lighting in these facilities will prevent them from going into diapause. If you are using Thripor curatively, and do not need establishment (cannabis or tropical houseplant growers, etc.), you can use them during the entire year, they just need to be introduced to your growing space weekly or bi-weekly.
How well does Thripor establish? Depending on the crop, once Thripor has been released, it can be quite difficult to locate or see if they are establishing. In pepper and eggplant flowers, the adults and older nymphs can easily be found in crop flowers, where they are feeding on thrips and pollen. Adults and their younger stages can also be found on leaves and along stems, but are more difficult to detect in these plant areas. In crops like cannabis, Thripor will have a harder time establishing because of the amount of trichomes that can be found on the cannabis plant. Leaf hair density has been shown to have a significant impact on the longevity (how long they live) and fecundity (how many eggs they lay during a lifetime) of Thripor. Because of this, it is best to treat curatively without the expectation of establishment.
- A curative treatment for Thripor is a weekly or bi-weekly treatment, until your thrips have been eradicated or when you have reached 4 weeks to harvest.
To ensure establishment in crops such as Pepper or Eggplants:
- Introduction points should be placed in a grid-type pattern throughout a large greenhouse (for a growing space less than 10 square meters, one single introduction works fine).
- Mark the introduction point(s) within the crop and/or on the scouting maps, along with date of application.
- Check the marked areas starting in nine days to see initial Orius nymph presence. Orius nymphs are an orangish color with red eyes.
How soon do they begin feeding? As soon as Thripor have been introduced into your growing space they will begin searching for prey. Thrips are easily found because they emanate odors called semio-chemicals (a chemical substance or mixture released by an organism that affects the behaviors of other individuals), which are used by Thripor during foraging. Once the thrips are found, Thripor uses its front legs to capture them and then inserts its sharp, straw-like mouthparts to puncture and feed. On average, a Thripor will kill 20 thrips per day.
Can they be used with other biocontrol? Yes, this natural enemy should be used in conjunction with other biological controls, like predator mites for best results. Foliage-dwelling predator mites will feed on thrips eggs protruding from the leaf surface and 1st instar thrips larvae. Soil-dwelling predator mites will feed on thrips pupae in the soil and the Thripor will feed on all active life stages of thrips, including adults. All these biologicals work together as a team in your crop combatting all life stages of thrips, making it easier to eradicate them completely.
A few other things that should be known before applying Thripor:
- When thrips are scarce it will feed on other pests including, whiteflies, aphids, small caterpillars and mites, but is not typically a significant control measure for pests other than thrips
- Thripor is very sensitive to pesticides and Sulphur. Applications of most broad-spectrum insecticides, such as pyrethroids, neonicotinoids, organophosphates, and carbamates, eliminate their populations and residuals can prevent establishment for months. Always review pesticide compatibility and spray records before introducing Thripor.
With a little knowledge and preparation, you are now ready to use this predatory bug in your growing facility! So why struggle with thrips when you can use the perfect crop defender! Give your crops the protection they need and see the results for yourself. Order your Thripor today and watch your pest problems disappear!