University of Maryland Extension

Thrips - Houseplants

Thrips damaged fuschia flower

Thrips are very tiny insects, 1-2mm long. They are slender with narrow wings fringed with hairs. They may be white, yellow, brown or black. The immatures are smaller and usually white or yellow. There are several generations. Some species overwinter in the soil; others die in winter are replaced in the spring by populations migrating in from the south. Some thrips may feed on only one plant species, while others are general feeders on the flowers and leaves.

Some thrips species feed only on pollen and cause no damage. Others suck plant juices in a linear pattern that looks like irregular white streaks and give a silvery appearance to damaged leaves. Some species may deposit minute black fecal spots on leaves. On flowers, damage appears as white or brown blotches.


Thrips generally do not require control in the home. They are usually brought in on infested plants. Dispose of severely damaged plants.


close-up thrips
Closeup of thrips

thrips damage to  petals

Damage to flower petals
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