Control Thrips in your Garden
THRIP INFESTATION - WHAT IT IS:
The bug is most likely called "thrips", and it's a new variety in the U.S. Just like our new ladybugs, and the Japanese Beetles, we're basically getting new bugs from all over the world, and these little thrips are probably as bad or even worse than spidermites for indoor gardeners! The good news is that it should be an easy fix.
Thrips go through three stages of life.
1. The first is in the soil as little worms (larvae) eating the roots. They can't be killed by sprays at this stage because they're sheltered deep in the soil.
2. The second stage of a thrips life cycle is as a fast crawling bug that is so tiny (1/16" to 1/8" long) they're almost impossible to see. They look kind of like a miniture silverfish at this stage, and they suck the juice out of the bottoms of the leaves, and the newest most delicate growth on the plant, including the flowers and fruits. Sprays aren't very effective on them at this stage due to the fact that the thrips can hide in that new growth at the top of the plant.
3. The last stage of the thrips life is as a flying insect. They look almost exactly like a fungus gnat and they're the same little guys that are buzzing around your head outside in the summer. They don't do any real damage at this stage, but they lay new eggs, perpetuating the problem.
1. Our first fix uses "Mosquito Dunks". They're made for standing water situations, and are a bacterial inoculant. They're perfect for eliminating thrips because this particular bacteria eats anything in a larval stage, so by soaking a dunk in water, then using that water to thoroughly water your plants, with just a few applications you can rid yourself of the thrips. This works just as well for gnats too!
The dunks are held together with a paper fiber that won't break down, so you'd probably want to put a dunk or two into a nylon sock, then soak that in water for several days to allow the bacteria to come to life before using about half of that water to water your plants. Then you can fill the bucket back up with water (leaving the same dunks in the water), and start a cycle of doing this to water your plants. It may take a couple weeks, but you'll eventually win. Replace the Mosquito Dunk in your soak about every 30 days.
If you're gardening using hydroponics, place an appropriate portion of a Mosquito Dunk into a nylon sock (helps prevent solid debris) and drop into the reservoir. If your infestation is overwhelming, after 24 hours, knead the Dunk slightly to help intensify bacteria saturation - this will shorten the lifespan of the Dunk, but make it more concentrated. Find Mosquito Dunks here
2. NEW! In addition to the use of Mosquito Dunks to control thrips, we've found a new and more effective way to keep these little buggers under wraps. This new product is called Monterey Garden Spray which is a harmless OMRI-listed bacterial product like the mosquito dunks.
Monterey Garden Spray is used as a foliar spray to kill the eggs which are laid on the bottoms of leaves and on the stems. With only one or two applications of the foliar spray you can virtually eliminate your active thrip infestation.
With the continued use of the mosquito dunks for a short period, you can keep the problem from repeating itself. Find Monterey Garden Spray here
Monterey Garden Spray is for spraying the plant, and is not intended for a root soak or in hydroponics systems reservoirs. Use Mosquito Dunks for the hydroponics reservoir (in a nylon), or to be watered into soil.
SPEED UP THE PROCESS:
Use Blue Sticky Traps along with either method for an effective way to help control thrips (or many other pests) as every adult insect that gets caught, can't lay eggs! They are also a great indicator of new insect infiltrations, so keep one up at all times. Find Blue Sticky Traps here
"A few days back, I made the comment to ... that we have not been able to correct this gnat thing, and we haven't even contacted our grow guru (YOU). Well ... contacted you, we did the Microbe Lift process you described, last nite, and went out there today,,,,, and there isn't a sight of one single gnat!!!! Man your a genius!!!!"