Photo by Melody

Cuban Laurel Thrips (Gynaikothrips ficorum)

Order: Thysanoptera (thi-san-OP-ter-a) (Info)
Family: Phlaeothripidae
Genus: Gynaikothrips
Species: ficorum


No positives
1 neutral
1 negative


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Pico Rivera, California
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Hialeah, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Ocala, Florida
Opa Locka, Florida
Palm Coast, Florida
Franklin, Louisiana

By palmbob
Thumbnail #1 of Cuban Laurel Thrips (Gynaikothrips ficorum) by palmbob

By palmbob

Thumbnail #2 of Cuban Laurel Thrips (Gynaikothrips ficorum) by palmbob

By palmbob

Thumbnail #3 of Cuban Laurel Thrips (Gynaikothrips ficorum) by palmbob

By palmbob

Thumbnail #4 of Cuban Laurel Thrips (Gynaikothrips ficorum) by palmbob

By palmbob

Thumbnail #5 of Cuban Laurel Thrips (Gynaikothrips ficorum) by palmbob

By palmbob

Thumbnail #6 of Cuban Laurel Thrips (Gynaikothrips ficorum) by palmbob

Member Notes:

Neutral palmbob On Apr 8, 2009, palmbob from Acton, CA
(Zone 8b) wrote:

Common problem for Ficus microcarpa in Los Angeles... interestingly, I never see Ficus benjamina effected, and they are grown side by side.

Negative HolyChickin On Apr 7, 2011, HolyChickin from Fort Lauderdale, FL wrote:

I remember seeing these things on our gardenia bush as a kid. Had no clue what they were or what they did... NOW I know!

I recently found them on my Moondance Floribunda... remembered seeing them as a child so, I did some research to find out if they were good or evil. Of course thrips are anything BUT good. Noticed some damage to the leaves of my roses (mostly minis) and all of the blooms of my light colored roses (white, yellow, pink, bi-color, etc) were browning in places and aging WAY before their time. I read that chilli thrips can transmit a virus with their bite which can be fatal to roses. [insert panic here]. After a bit of research and of course intense observation of the blooms of my roses, found that the thrips present (there are about 5,000 different species) are more than likely Cuban Laurel thrips. MAYBE?!? The pictures on the internet look very similar to the teeny black thin evil things on my roses. Since they are so small, I didn't even know I had a problem till it was too late. Accordingly, their numbers are gigantic.

So, I planned out an attack and have been embroiled in full on war with these things for the least week and a half. I have sprayed pretty much everything in my arsenal. Neem, Insecticidal soap, several different types of insecticides... it is very hard to get rid of these things. I have one trick left up my sleeve called Avid but, I reserve that for strictly emergencies. It isn't a complete emergency yet so I am going to be patient and find out the best way to deal with these things without NUKES. So, every morning, you can find me inspecting any light colored flowers (well, the few that are left) to see if I have been the victor. No dice. STILL have them! Since they LOVE to hide in the folds of flowers, all you have to do is rummage through the petals and there they are! Their numbers seem to be reducing (at least I think) since I started this but then again, I went off the deep end and whacked back the most effected to twigs. Not sure if that was prudent or not but I figured, if they have no place to live and breed, they are evicted no?!? WRONG! They just jump on to the next bush! Apparently the adults lay their eggs in the soil... which means every few days, a new batch hatch and get to work. Adults can live anywhere to a month to a month and a half... PLENTY of time to make thousands of new nasties! Accordingly, their numbers can get out of control quickly... and they have.

Since chemicals aren't really effectively working, I have decided a new plan of attack... if ya can't beat 'em, join 'em! I am trying a course of lacewings (released 1,000 of them last night) with sprayings every other day of Dr. Bronner's insecticidal soap (mix two tablespoons Peppermint Dr. Bronners to one gallon of water) and neem (once a week) to keep from harming my new friends; repeat. Any day now I should have an army of little cannibalistic predators doing all the killing for me. They aren't easy to see but, upon very close inspection, I already saw a few hatched lacewings looking for victims. They almost look like tiny alligator/scorpion.

The reason I chose lacewings is I have tried ladybugs several times... I follow the directions to a tee, released them in the evening, provided them water, food, lures, even a ladybug house to keep them safe and warm. It was Sodom and Gomorrah for a few hours, then they ALL flew away by the next morning. LACEWINGS however, do NOT fly away. They stay put and do what they are supposed to... kill, kill, KILLLLL! Another good thing about them is pretty much everything that is a pest is on the lacewing's menu: thrips, aphids, scale, mealybugs, spidermites... all the things I do NOT want in my garden. Also, the adult lacewing can and will pollinate any flowers... YIPPEEE!

I will keep you all posted as to what is working and what isn't. I can tell you right now that the "over the counter" chemicals do work but, only on adult thrips or those that have already hatched. Any that haven't, will hatch and continue their dirty work in a few days. I would have to spray harsh chemicals every other day just to keep up. Accordingly, the chemicals are only a temporary "band-aid" fix in this case.. and not even a good one because there is a risk of harming honeybees in the onslaught. Not cool... **loves honeybees**

Read that nematodes work on the thrips eggs waiting to hatch in the soil. Will try those guys next if the lacewings fail. The battle rages on...

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