U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Document Type


Date of this Version



Pest Manag Sci 2012; 68: 1537–1545; DOI 10.1002/ps.3389


BACKGROUND:The spread of the western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande) (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), resulted in the worldwide destabilization of established integrated pest management programs for many crops. Efforts to control the pest and the thrips-vectored tospoviruses with calendar applications of broad-spectrum insecticides have been unsuccessful. The result has been a classic ‘3-R’ situation: resistance to numerous insecticides; resurgence of the western flower thrips populations as a result of natural predators and native competitor thrips being eliminated; replacement by various other pests. This paper reports on integrated pest management programs for fruiting vegetables that are effective, economical, ecologically sound and sustainable.

RESULTS: The components include the following: define pest status (economic thresholds); increase biotic resistance (natural enemies and competition); integrate preventive and therapeutic tactics (scouting, ultraviolet-reflective technologies, biological control, compatible insecticides, companion plants and fertility); vertically integrate the programs with other pests; continually communicate latest science-based management tactics with end-users.

CONCLUSION: These programs have been widely implemented in Florida and have significantly improved the management of western flower thrips and thrips-transmitted viruses.