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 Citrus Pest Quick Guide: Flower Thrips (Frankliniella bispinosa Morgan and Frankliniella kelliae Sakimura)

X. Martini, L. M. Diepenbrock, K. L. Ray, and J. D. Burrow

Life Cycle

Thrips eggs are small and embedded into flower parts, making them hard to detect and often not identifiable. Larvae are white to yellow with fringed wings, appear similar to other Frankliniella thrips, and often are not identifiable. The pupal stages are non-feeding and not generally noticed because pupation often occurs out of sight in the soil. Most thrips that attack plants are yellow to amber in color. Adult thrips migrate as “aerial plankton” to new hosts during flowering each year.

Frankliniella bispinosa adult.
Figure 1. Frankliniella bispinosa adult.
Credit: L. Buss, UF/IFAS


Thrips have specialized mouthparts that allow them to puncture plant material with one half of their mandible and then suck up plant material with the other half. These insects have a wide host range, making them particularly challenging to manage.

Thrips feeding removes the contents of cells 1–5 cells deep from the feeding site. These cells then die and can result in flowers being aborted. High populations of thrips can also reduce fruit set, particularly in Navel and Valencia orange.

If feeding occurs on the foliage or fruit, it may cause silvering. Feeding on the bloom can cause petal browning or malformed fruit. Common feeding damage includes scarring or bronzing, a ring near the top of the fruit or where fruit were touching in the grove.

Thrips feeding on flower.
Figure 2. Thrips feeding on flower.
“Halo” from thrips feeding.
Figure 3. “Halo” from thrips feeding.
“Halo” from thrips feeding on young fruit.
Figure 4. “Halo” from thrips feeding on young fruit.
Thrips feeding damage.
Figure 5. Thrips feeding damage.

Publication #ENY-2036

Release Date:April 13, 2022

Related Experts

Diepenbrock, Lauren M.


University of Florida

Burrow, Jamie D.


University of Florida

Related Collections

Part of Citrus Pest Quick Guides series

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About this Publication

This document is ENY-2063, one of a series of the Entomology and Nematology Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date April 2022. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

X. Martini, assistant professor, Entomology and Nematology Department, UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center; L. M. Diepenbrock, assistant professor, Entomology and Nematology Department, UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center; K.L. Ray, summer 2019 student intern; and J. D. Burrow, Extension program manager, UF/IFAS Citrus REC; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


  • Jamie Burrow
  • Lauren Diepenbrock