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 house plants and in greenhouses to attack the western flower thrips. Organic sprays are available, which are based on plant oils or are soap-based.