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Publication #EENY075

Greenhouse Thrips, Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis (Bouche) Insecta: Thysanoptera: Thripidae)1

H. A. Denmark and T. R. Fasulo2

Introduction

This thrips was described by Bouché in 1833 from specimens taken from a greenhouse in Europe. Packard described this species for the first time from the United States in 1870 and renamed it the greenhouse thrips, Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis (Bouché).

Figure 1. 

Adult and immature greenhouse thrips, Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis (Bouché).


Credit:

Lyle J. Buss, University of Florida


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Synonymy

Thrips haemorrhoidalis Bouché 1833
Heliothrips adonidum Haliday, 1836
Thrips haemorrhoidalis var. abdominalis Reuter, 1891
Thrips haemorrhoidalis var. ceylonica Schmutz, 1913
Thrips haemorrhoidalis var. angustior Priesner, 1923
Heliothrips semiaureus Girault, 1928
Dinurothrips rufiventris Girault, 1929
(CSIRO 2009)

Distribution

This species occurs worldwide in the tropics and sub-tropics. Although originally described from Europe, it originated in South America (CSIRO 2009). It was probably introduced into Europe on ornamental plants from tropical America. This thrips can probably be found over much of the world due to its habit of living in greenhouses. Greenhouse thrips are found on wild and cultivated plants.

In the United States, it is found outdoors in central and southern Florida and southern California. It is found in greenhouses throughout the United States. Sometimes it escapes from greenhouses in warm months in states north of Florida.

Description and Biology

As it matures into an adult, head and thorax of the greenhouse thrips darken to black and the abdomen changes from yellow to dark brown. Cool temperatures retard the color changes. The legs remain a light yellow, and the antenna has eight segments. The greenhouse thrips is parthenogenic, in that it reproduces without mating, and males are seldom seen. It is a poor flier and tends to remain in the shaded areas on the plant.

Figure 2. 

Adult thrips, showing fringed wings.


Credit:

Division of Plant Industry


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Figure 3. 

Adult greenhouse thrips, Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis (Bouché).


Credit:

Mike Merchant, Texas Cooperative Extension Service


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Figure 4. 

Head and thorax of an adult greenhouse thrips, Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis (Bouché).


Credit:

Laurence Mound ANIC, CSIRO; Illustration courtesy of http://www.padil.gov.au/. Used with permission.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Figure 5. 

Antenna of an adult greenhouse thrips, Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis (Bouché).


Credit:

Laurence Mound ANIC, CSIRO; Illustration courtesy of http://www.padil.gov.au/. Used with permission.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

The adult females insert their eggs into the leaf or fruit surface. Just before hatching, the egg blisters. A hand lens helps somewhat in surveying for emerging populations as it shows where the eggs are in the leaves, only the tip being visible. The eggs are white and banana-shaped and are inserted singly in plant tissue.

The early larval stage is whitish with red eyes. Larvae become yellowish after feeding. Mature larvae average 1 mm in length. Greenhouse thrips undergo two larval instars then it molts to the prepupal stage which is light yellow with red eyes and short wing pads. The pupal stage is slightly larger, with longer wing pads and larger eyes. It is yellowish and then darkens with age. The antennae are bent backward over the head in the pupal stage. The prepupal and pupal stages do not feed.

Figure 6. 

Larvae and pupae of the greenhouse thrips, Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis (Bouché).


Credit:

Lyle J. Buss, University of Florida


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Hosts

In Florida, this thrips is found especially on crotons, but has been taken from ardisia, Aspidium sp., avocado, azalea, Coleus sp., Crinum sp., dahlias, dogwood, ferns, Ficus nitida, guavas, hibiscus, natal plum, magnolia, mangoes, maple, orchids, palms, philodendron, phlox, pinks, viburnum, Vitis sp., and many other ornamentals.

The greenhouse thrips causes rind blemish problems on developing citrus fruit (i.e., ring spotting or irregular russeting) on immature and mature clustered fruit, or where a leaf or twig is in direct contact with fruit (Stansly et al. 2003).

Economic Importance

This thrips feeds primarily on the foliage of ornamental plants. It attacks the lower surface first and, as feeding progresses and the population increases, moves to the upper surface. The leaves become discolored and become distorted between the lateral veins. Severely damaged leaves turn yellow and drop. In addition to the feeding damage, both surfaces are covered with small droplets of a reddish fluid, voided by the thrips, that gradually turn to black. These globules of fluid increase in size until they fall off, resulting in a characteristic spotting of the infested area with black specks of fecal material. The globules serve as deterrents to predators.

Figure 7. 

Damage produced by greenhouse thrips, Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis (Bouché), feeding on wood fern.


Credit:

Mike Merchant, Texas Cooperative Extension Service


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Figure 8. 

Adult greenhouse thrips, Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis (Bouché), with feeding damage and fecal specks.


Credit:

Lyle J. Buss, University of Florida


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

The greenhouse thrips injures the leaves and fruit of citrus, but does not cause leaf drop. The damage of the fruit may be well defined depressed areas, often with irregular reticulation. This kind of damage occurs when fruit is immature. On mature fruit this damage is not well defined and merges into the healthy peel without a depression.

The greenhouse thrips also damages avocados and is an important pest of that fruit in New Zealand and other areas (Stevens et al. 1999).

Management

Only one effective natural enemy is known to attack greenhouse thrips. The minute larval parasite, Thripobius semiluteus, which was introduced into California from Brazil and Australia in the mid-1980s. Parasitized thrips larvae appear swollen and the sides of their body are more parallel than tapered as in healthy thrips larvae. The immobile parasite pupae appear black among the colonies of translucent, unparasitized thrips.

Other less effective natural enemies include an egg parasite, Megaphragma mymaripenne, and three predatory thrips species, Franklinothrips orizabensis, Franklinothrips vespiformis, and Leptothrips mali, also known as the black hunter.

Current Florida management recommendations may be found at Florida Citrus Pest Management Guide for thrips.

Selected References

Bethke JA. (June 2010). Floriculture and Ornamental Nurseries Thrips. How to Manage Pests: UC Pest Management Guidelines. http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/r280301411.html (27 April 2016)

CSIRO. (2009). Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis. World Thysanoptera. http://anic.ento.csiro.au/thrips/identifying_thrips/Heliothrips_haemorrhoidalis.htm (27 April 2016)

Funderburk J, Diffie S, Sharma J, Hodges A, Osborne L. (2007). Thrips of Ornamentals in the Southeastern US. ENY-845. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. http://ufdc.ufl.edu/IR00002838/00001 (27 April 2016)

Stansly PA, Childers CC, Nigg HN, Simpson SE. (2009). Florida Citrus Pest Management Guide: Plant bugs, chewing insect pests, Caribbean fruit fly, and thrips. ENY-605. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/CG005 (27 April 2016)

Stevens P, Froud K, Mills E. 1999. Effects of greenhouse thrips (Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis) life-stage, density and feeding duration on damage to avocado fruit. Revista Chapingo Serie Horticultura 5: 297–300. (27 April 2016)

Footnotes

1.

This document is EENY075 (originally published as DPI Entomology Circular No. 64), one of a series of the Department of Entomology and Nematology, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date February 1999. Revised August 2004, September 2010, and April 2016. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. This document is also available on the Featured Creatures website at http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/.

2.

H. A. Denmark, (retired) Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry; and T. R. Fasulo, Department of Entomology and Nematology; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.