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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BIOLOGICALLY BASED TECHNIQUES TO LIMIT THE DISPERSAL OF INVASIVE PESTS Title: Thrips pests of China and the United States

Authors
item Reitz, Stuart
item Gao, Yulin -
item Lei, Zhogren -

Submitted to: Agricultural Sciences in China
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 20, 2011
Publication Date: June 1, 2011
Citation: Reitz, S.R., Gao, Y., Lei, Z. 2011. Thrips pests of China and the United States. Agricultural Sciences in China. 10:867-892.

Interpretive Summary: Thrips are among the most significant agricultural pests in China and the United States. Thrips can damage crops by their direct feeding and by the ability of some species to vector plant viruses. Four highly invasive species, the western flower thrips, chilli thrips, melon thrips and onion thrips, have near cosmopolitan distributions. These particular species account for a significant proportion of thrips pest problems in China and the United States, as elsewhere in the world, and these species also account for much of our knowledge regarding thrips. However, other species of these minute insects are continuing to emerge as important pests. Scientists with the USDA-ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, Florida, and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences have reviewed the biological attributes that are shared among many thrips species, which predispose them to becoming pests. Among the important traits are their small size and cryptic nature, their rapid development and high fecundity, and their broad diet, which are discussed in terms of thrips pest status, and how they could be exploited for management purposes. Current management programs that have been successful in managing pest thrips are discussed. Many current programs have a reliance on insecticide use, but the ability of thrips species to evolve resistance dictates that alternative management techniques continue to be developed. More integrated management approaches that focus on cultural and biological controls have been developed and successfully implemented for some cropping systems. Expanding such integrated management programs to other cropping systems will require a more thorough understanding of thrips ecology, including their interactions with host plants, with viruses they transmit, and with natural enemies. Future research needs that would contribute to the sustainable and effective management of thrips are identified and discussed.

Technical Abstract: Thrips are among the most significant agricultural pests in China and the United States. Thrips can damage crops by their direct feeding and oviposition damage, and by the ability of some species to vector plant viruses. Four highly invasive species, Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande), Scirtothrips dorsalis Hood, Thrips palmi Karny, and Thrips tabaci Lindeman have spread through the movement of to have near cosmopolitan distributions. These particular species account for a significant proportion of thrips pest problems in China and the United States, as elsewhere in the world, and these species also account for much of our knowledge regarding thrips. However, other species of these minute insects are continuing to emerge as important pests. Here, we review biological attributes that are shared among many thrips species, which predispose them to becoming pests. Among the important traits are their small size and cryptic nature, their rapid development and high fecundity, and their polyphagy, which are discussed in terms of thrips pest status, and how they could be exploited for management purposes. Current management programs that have been successful in managing pest thrips are discussed. Many current programs have a reliance on insecticide use, but the ability of thrips species to evolve resistance dictates that alternative management techniques continue to be developed. More integrated management approaches that focus on cultural and biological controls have been developed and successfully implemented for some cropping systems. Expanding such integrated management programs to other cropping systems will require a more thorough understanding of thrips ecology, including their interactions with host plants, with viruses they transmit, and with natural enemies. We describe future research needs that would contribute to the sustainable and effective management of thrips.

Last Modified: 12/19/2014
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