Chilli thrips … who would have thought that a bug with a name like that would be a major pest that rose growers would have to contend with.
Not even their official name … Scirtothrips dorsailis … would give you any indication that these bugs had a voracious appetite for roses, but they do … and getting rid of them is not just a matter of pruning a few branches and throwing the cuttings in the rubbish.
For those of us in Perth these nasty little Chilli thrips are a relatively new pest but they have been causing problems around the world for many years and they have been a problem in the north of the state for the last 20 years.
These bugs are also known by several other polite names … tea thrips and strawberry thrips … and plenty of not-so-polite names … because they cause a lot of damage.
Chilli thrips are sap-sucking bugs that feed on all types of citrus including citrus hybrids, and they are also partial to various fruits and vegetables as well … and of course, everyone’s roses.
The lifecycle of a Chilli thrip.
Adult thrips lay eggs within the tissue of a host plant … possibly one, or all, of your rose plants.
The larvae hatch from the eggs and feed on the host plant until they are close to turning into adults and at that stage, as they are going through their pupal state, they either drop off the plant and live in on the surface of the soil or on the lower leaves of their host plant.
At that stage they are turning into adults and when that transformation occurs they emerge with four feathery wings and are able to reproduce so the cycle goes on.
A plant that is hosting Chilli thrips can be infested with many generations of this little pest at the same time and the longer they are left on your rose bushes the bigger the infestation becomes.