These miniscule sap-sucking insects multiply rapidly on leaves. Large colonies are immediately evident, as are the symptoms – silvery-white discoloration of the leaves and distorted shoot tips and buds.
Packed clusters of tiny yellow insects on leaves produce several symptoms. The leaves turn dull green with silvery-white areas, the buds may fail to open and shoot tips may be distorted.
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There are many different species of thrips, but a biological control in the form of a predatory mite can be used on houseplants and in greenhouses to attack the western flower thrips. Organic pesticide sprays are available, which are based on plant oils or pyrethrum.
Ornamental plants can be sprayed with insecticides containing methiocarb.