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Well, apparently the "specialist" we went to didn't really know as much as we though. I just discovered that I have a thrip problem, not a spider mite problem. In his defense, the damage does look similar. How do we know? Well, my parents had the brilliant idea of taking some of affected leaves from my plants and sticking them under a microscope. The result? (see below) So now I have a very real thrip problem instead of an imaginary spider mite problem. So...does anyone have any tried and true methods of getting rid of thrip? I haven't noticed any adults, just the larvae. But I might have missed them. I've heard nematodes work...are they okay to use with aquaponics?

Ugly little jerk, ain't he?

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yes, i've used nematode pest predators in ap - in fact i need to order more..

but this will only work on the larvae, not the pests on the plant.. you want predator bugs for those, like predator mites (these are a good option, because they will attack each other when they don't have prey - self controlling) or, i think "pirate bugs" are another predator for the adults..

Right on Mom and Dad. At least you now know what you're dealing with.

Alex, as you astutely noted in another thread "anything organic is going to take time..." You might not be able to expect your newly introduced predators to be able to keep up...Depending on how bad your infestation is, and the population of your predators...Once you have an IPM program somewhat (established) in place (nematodes, predatory mites...pirate bugs, lace-wing larvae, lady-bird larvae and whatever else...and eliminate pest/disease vectors like introducing seedlings from a garden center/nursery, things like this happen less frequently...Look into possible IPM strategies...and growing stuff from seed yourself...

In the mean time...

There are 'certified for Organic gardening' products, containing the naturally occurring bacteria spinosad A and spinosad D... Those bacteria do quite a number on mites and thrips alike (and a host of other common pests)...You might look into whatever spinosad product is available for certified 'O' gardening in your area (easy for purchase)...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinosad

Yeah, I don't know how long I've had the thrips, but I've definitely had them before I brought any foreign plant starts into my system. We originally started everything from seed and grew it out ourselves. I'm kinda reading between the lines, but I'm hearing you say that predator mites will work for thrips, something I hadn't really considered. Biological control is completely new to me, as is the concept of greenhouse diversity as opposed to sterility. Makes total sense though, and I'm on board. And I've got nothing but time, so there's definitely no hurry. Since I didn't think to take precautions, a quick fix would be nice until I can establish more long-term measures. Will spinosad affect my predator population?

Vlad Jovanovic said:

Right on Mom and Dad. At least you now know what you're dealing with.

Alex, as you astutely noted in another thread "anything organic is going to take time..." You might not be able to expect your newly introduced predators to be able to keep up...Depending on how bad your infestation is, and the population of your predators...Once you have an IPM program somewhat (established) in place (nematodes, predatory mites...pirate bugs, lace-wing larvae, lady-bird larvae and whatever else...and eliminate pest/disease vectors like introducing seedlings from a garden center/nursery, things like this happen less frequently...Look into possible IPM strategies...and growing stuff from seed yourself...

In the mean time...

There are 'certified for Organic gardening' products, containing the naturally occurring bacteria spinosad A and spinosad D... Those bacteria do quite a number on mites and thrips alike (and a host of other common pests)...You might look into whatever spinosad product is available for certified 'O' gardening in your area (easy for purchase)...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinosad

Okay, so one or two applications of spinosad took care of my thrip problem. Plants are looking much healthier and its time to get some thrip-munching predators to balance things out :)

Here's the stuff I used: http://www.amazon.com/Monterey-LG6135-Contains-Spinosad-32-Ounce/dp...

i like to use Spinosad, Pyrethrin, and Safer Soap... works every time, on every thing,, including thrips..

they all call for 2 oz per gallon,,, i use one oz per gallon and mix all three together... no need for a surfactant,, the soap does the job for ya..

and YES... they all say harmful to aquatic life on the bottle.. so... dont get it in the water.

FYI - ive used it for four years now, with no problems... i know a guy who uses it at full strength and has poured it into the fish tank muliple times without issue..

 

Well, it's my turn. Pepper plants are infested. I've been cutting off leaves with thrip sign and feeding them to the bunny. I'm going to try your suggestion.
Keith, are you seeing flies yet?
Don't think so. I was called to work last wed and I didn't see any while I was home. I'm back home wed and the wife hasn't said anything about flying critters yet. She is pretty keen about those kinda things. The bug I put under the microscope did have wings though.

Sweet! Using a microscope and gettin' it done! I'm a big fan of microscopes and aquaponic systems.

Keith Barkwood said:

Don't think so. I was called to work last wed and I didn't see any while I was home. I'm back home wed and the wife hasn't said anything about flying critters yet. She is pretty keen about those kinda things. The bug I put under the microscope did have wings though.
I've been cutting off any leaf with thrip sign and feeding them to the bunny or freezing them (for the vermicompost later.) the roots are do strong the plants don't appear to mind missing so many leaves. I'm not sure what route to go in eliminating them. I'm hesitant about spraying any chemicals or introducing a bacteria.
How did your battle end?

Hi, I discovered that I have a thrips infestation today and bought the monterey product with spinosad. I have a system set up with goldfish; I'll report back, hopefully with good news.

I've put on two applications of spinosad so far and I can't tell if things are improving or not. They're definitely not getting any worse. I am using Monterey's product. No dead fish so far. I did have two of my leopard frogs escape from my flood plain, which hasn't happened for 3 months, which makes me wonder if the frogs don't like the bacteria much. It could be completely unrelated though. Does anyone have any recommendations about how often I can apply the spinosad? The bottle instructions seem quite conservative. Thanks!

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