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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