Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tiny, Yellow, Biting Bugs

a thrips next to a leaf vein
Have you every felt a sharp pinch while outside during summer only to find a tiny, yellow, sliver-like bug when you investigate the bite?

These bites are from a tiny insect called a thrips (the name is always plural; one thrips, many thrips).

Thrips normally feed on plants with very sharp, knife-like mouthparts. If they happen to land on us they can bite causing a sharp, stabbing pain. The bites are annoying but completely harmless and are more common in mid- to late summer. Unfortunately, insect repellents don't work against thrips. See this article at the 'Bugs website for more information.

Thrips can be important plant pests where they damage leaves and in some cases even infect plants with a virus. Greenhouse growers in particular often treat their crops with insecticide to prevent thrips damage. 

drawing showing feathery wings











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