Hi, PLANTZ family!  Today we are going to bug out on thrips.  Thrips are tiny pests that can cause big problems for your office plants.  If you’ve noticed small, slender insects on your plants that seem to be damaging their leaves, you may have a thrips infestation.  But don’t fret, we’re here to help!

What are thrips?

So, what exactly is a thrip? Thrips are tiny insects that measure less than 1/8 inch in length and can range in color from yellow to black. They are attracted to new growth and can be found on the undersides of leaves, as well as on flowers and buds. They are known for their ability to cause extensive damage to a wide range of plant species, including office plants. If left untreated, thrips can lead to stunted growth, leaf distortion, and even death in severe infestations.

Thrips reproduce quickly, and their populations will explode if not controlled. They lay their eggs on the surface of leaves, and the larvae emerge to feed on the plant sap. As they mature, thrips molt and shed their skin, leaving behind tiny white or silver excrement particles on the plant surface.

Thrips can be challenging to control, as they are resistant to many conventional insecticides. However, there are a variety of methods for controlling thrips and preventing them from damaging your office plants. Regular monitoring of your plants for signs of infestation, such as small, discolored spots on leaves, can help to catch thrips early and prevent them from causing significant damage.

Maintaining a healthy growing environment for your office plants can also help to prevent thrips infestations. Thrips are attracted to stressed plants. So it’s important to ensure that your plants are receiving proper light, water, and nutrients. Removing any damaged or infected plant material can also help to prevent thrips from spreading.

If you do discover a thrips infestation on your office plants, there are a variety of control methods you can try. Insecticidal soaps and oils can be effective in killing thrips but be sure to follow the instructions carefully to avoid damaging your plants. Additionally, introducing natural predators such as ladybugs and lacewings can help to control thrips populations. But they may not be the right solution for an office space.

Generally, thrips are a common plant pest that can cause significant damage to office plants if left untreated. By regularly monitoring your plants for signs of infestation and maintaining a healthy growing environment, you can prevent thrips from taking hold. And if you do discover a thrips infestation, there are a variety of control methods you can try to keep your plants looking their best.

What do thrips look like?

Think you might have a thrip infestation?  Let’s discuss what these little buggers look like to help you determine if the thrip is the cause of your plants stress.

As we discussed, thrips are tiny insects that are less than 1/8 inch in length and range in color from yellow to black. They have narrow, elongated bodies and two pairs of feather-like wings that are fringed with hairs. These wings give thrips a distinctive, almost “fuzzy” appearance when viewed up close.  They can fly, but are not the best at it. So you won’t see them buzzing around your plants like a fungus gnat.

While thrips can vary in color, they are typically very small and difficult to spot with the naked eye. However, if you inspect your office plants closely, you may be able to see them moving about on the undersides of leaves or in the folds of new growth. Thrips are often attracted to new growth and can be found feeding on leaves, flowers, and buds.

One of the most notable characteristics of thrips is their piercing-sucking mouthparts, which they use to feed on the sap of plants. This causes significant damage to office plants over time, leading to stunted growth, leaf distortion, and may even kill your plant.

In addition to their small size and distinctive wings, thrips can also leave behind telltale signs of their presence. As they feed on plant sap, they can cause small, discolored spots on leaves and flowers. These spots may be accompanied by silver or white excrement particles left behind by the thrips as they shed their skin and mature.

While thrips can be challenging to spot and identify, it’s important to be vigilant when it comes to monitoring your office plants for signs of infestation. Catching thrips early can prevent them from causing significant damage and can make it easier to control their populations.

Thrips Life Cycle

Have you ever wondered how thrips, those pesky plant pests, reproduce and grow their populations? Understanding the thrip life cycle can help you better control their presence on your office plants.

Thrips go through a gradual metamorphosis, meaning they develop through three distinct life stages: egg, nymph, and adult. The length of each stage can vary depending on environmental factors such as temperature and humidity.

The first stage of the thrip life cycle is the egg stage. Female thrips lay their eggs on or within plant tissue, often in the crevices of leaves or buds. The eggs are usually oval-shaped and less than 1mm in size. The eggs then hatch into the second stage of the life cycle: the nymph stage.

Nymphs are wingless and resemble adult thrips but are smaller and lack fully developed reproductive organs. They feed on plant sap and molt several times as they grow and develop. The duration of the nymph stage can range from a few days to several weeks, depending on environmental conditions.

Once they reach maturity, thrips enter the third and final stage of their life cycle: the adult stage. Adult thrips have fully developed wings and reproductive organs and are capable of mating and laying eggs. Depending on the species, adult thrips can range in size from less than 1mm to over 2mm in length.

Adult female thrips lay their eggs on or within plant tissue, and the cycle begins again. The entire life cycle can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on environmental factors.

One interesting, and unfortunate for us plant lovers, characteristic of thrips is their ability to reproduce asexually. Female thrips can lay eggs without mating, which can lead to rapid population growth in favorable conditions.

Thrips can be challenging to control because of their rapid reproduction and development.  In the right circumstances, their development from egg to adult can take as little as two weeks!  This helps cause thrip populations to explode and can spell disaster for your office plants.

Understanding the thrip life cycle is an important step in controlling their presence on your office plants. By monitoring your plants for signs of infestation and using effective control methods, you can keep your plants healthy and thrip-free. Remember, prevention is key when it comes to managing thrips, so be sure to maintain a healthy growing environment for your office plants.

Thrips damage on houseplants

Thrips are not only a nuisance to humans but also a menace to plants. They are known to cause severe damage to crops and garden plants, including those found in offices and homes. These tiny, slender insects pierce the leaves, stems, and flowers of your indoor plants, leaving behind scars that may take a long time to heal.

One of the most noticeable signs of thrip damage is the presence of pierced holes on the leaves of your houseplants. These tiny holes are caused by thrips using their mouths to pierce the surface of the leaves and sucking out the sap and juices of the plant. Thrips feed by scraping the surface of the leaf and then inserting their long, slender mouthparts into the hole they created. They then suck the sap and nutrients out of the plant, leaving behind a damaged and weakened plant.

As thrips feed on your office plants, they also secrete a toxic substance that can lead to the death of the affected tissue, like a plant necrosis. This can cause the leaves to turn yellow, dry out and eventually fall off. If left unchecked, thrip infestations will cause a significant reduction in plant growth and even death in severe cases.

In addition to pierced holes, thrip damage may also manifest in other ways. For instance, thrips can cause the leaves of your plants to curl or deform, a condition known as leaf curl. This happens when thrips feed on the growing tips of the leaves, which can lead to stunted growth and twisted or curled leaves.

Another way that thrips can damage your houseplants is through the spread of plant diseases. Thrips can carry and transmit viruses and bacteria to plants, leading to the development of diseases that can be fatal to your plants. These diseases can cause symptoms such as yellowing, stunting, and necrosis of the plant tissues.

Thrips damage can also weaken your indoor plants, making them more susceptible to other pests and diseases. Weakened plants may be less able to fight off infections and infestations, leading to further damage and loss of plant health.

Thrips cause significant damage to your houseplants by piercing holes into the leaves and sucking out the sap and juices. They can also cause leaf curl, spread plant diseases, and weaken your plants, making them more vulnerable to other pests and diseases. Therefore, it is important to take preventive measures such as regularly inspecting your plants for thrip infestations, keeping your plants healthy and well-watered, and using natural pest control methods such as sticky traps and beneficial insects to control thrips and other pests.

How to get rid of thrips on office plants

Dealing with thrips on office plants can be a challenge. But it’s important to take action to prevent these pests from causing damage to your plants and spreading to your other plants. Luckily, there are several ways to get rid of thrips on houseplants, and with a bit of effort, you can get your plants looking healthy and beautiful again.

Here are some effective ways to get rid of thrips on office plants:

  • Remove heavily infested leaves/flowers: Start by pruning or picking off the heavily infested leaves or flowers of your plant. This reduces the number of thrips on your plant and prevents them from spreading further. Remember to dispose of the removed parts in a sealed plastic bag to prevent any thrips from escaping and reinfesting your plant.
  • Wash down your plant: Using a strong stream of water from a hose, gently wash down your plant’s leaves, stems, and other parts to remove any remaining thrips. This also helps to dislodge thrips’ eggs and reduces the likelihood of a reinfestation. You can repeat this process every few days, depending on the severity of the infestation.
  • Spray with insecticidal soap: Insecticidal soaps are effective against thrips and other pests, and they are safe for most plants. You can purchase an insecticidal soap at your local garden center or make one at home using natural ingredients. To apply, follow the instructions on the label, and ensure that you cover all parts of the plant, especially the undersides of the leaves where thrips often hide.
  • Apply a systemic insecticide: Systemic insecticides are absorbed by plants and transported throughout the plant’s tissues, making them ideal for controlling pests like thrips that feed on the plant’s sap. These insecticides come in granular or liquid forms and are available at garden centers. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and ensure that you apply the insecticide during the plant’s active growth phase.
  • Use a sticky trap to capture adult thrips: Sticky traps are an excellent way to monitor thrips populations and to capture adult thrips. You can purchase sticky traps at garden centers or make your own using yellow or blue cardboard covered in petroleum jelly or another sticky substance. Place the traps around your plants, especially near the plant’s growing tips, and replace them regularly.
  • Repeat steps 2 and 3: Thrips are persistent little buggers. And it’s often necessary to repeat the control measures to get rid of them entirely. Keep an eye on your plant, and if you notice any new signs of infestation, repeat steps 2 and 3. Additionally, maintaining healthy growing conditions for your plants, such as appropriate watering, fertilization, and pruning, can help prevent thrips infestations in the future.

When dealing with thrips on office plants, it’s crucial to be persistent and patient. With consistent efforts, you can successfully get rid of thrips and prevent them from causing further damage to your plants.

How to prevent thrips

While controlling thrips can be difficult once an infestation has occurred, there are several preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of thrips infestation. Let’s talk about several strategies for preventing thrips from damaging your plants.

  • Inspect New Plants: One of the easiest ways for thrips to enter your garden or home is through new plants. Before bringing any new plants into your home or garden, thoroughly inspect them for signs of thrips or other pests. Look for discolored leaves or flowers, distorted growth, and dark spots or blemishes. If you notice any signs of thrips, consider returning the plant or treating it before bringing it inside.
  • Keep Plants Healthy: Healthy plants are better able to resist thrips and other pests. To keep your plants healthy, make sure they are receiving adequate sunlight, water, and nutrients. Avoid over-fertilizing, which can weaken plants and make them more susceptible to thrips infestation. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of stress or disease and address any issues promptly.
  • Keep Garden Areas Clean: Thrips thrive in warm, humid environments. So keeping your garden area clean and free of debris can help prevent infestations. Remove any dead leaves or flowers from your plants, and keep the soil surface clean and free of weeds. Thrips can also hide in garden debris. So be sure to dispose of any fallen leaves, branches, or other plant debris.
  • Choose Resistant Varieties: Some plant varieties are naturally more resistant to thrips than others. When choosing plants for your garden or indoor space, consider selecting varieties that are known to be less susceptible to thrips infestation. The green team at PLANTZ can provide reliable advice on which varieties are best suited to your specific environment.
  • Repel Pests with Plants: Certain plants are known to repel pests, including thrips. Planting companion plants such as basil, oregano, and garlic can help deter thrips and other pests from attacking your plants. These plants contain natural chemicals that are toxic to thrips, making them an effective natural pest control solution.  Not only will they help resolve your thrips problem, but they will leave your office smelling delicious and your coworkers craving spaghetti marinara.
  • Don’t Overfertilize: Overfertilizing your plants can make them more attractive to thrips and other pests. When plants receive too much nitrogen, they produce softer, more succulent growth, which is more appealing to thrips. Instead, follow a regular fertilization schedule and avoid excessive use of nitrogen-rich fertilizers.  Also, read the labels on the fertilizer and follow the instructions precisely.
  • Treat Bulbs: Thrips are known to infest bulbs, particularly gladiolus bulbs. Before planting bulbs, soak them in a solution of 1 tablespoon of Lysol per 1 gallon of water.  They should soak for several hours and need to be planted while the bulbs are damp.  Thrips problems can also be resolved by “overwintering” bulbs at temperatures of 35°-40°F for several months. Just make sure the bulbs don’t actually freeze.

Preventing thrips from damaging your plants requires a multi-faceted approach that includes regular inspection, proper plant care, and the use of natural pest control methods. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can reduce the risk of thrips infestation. And keep your office plants healthy and thriving.


Taking care of your plants and protecting them from thrips is an essential aspect of keeping your indoor office plants healthy and thriving. With proper care and prevention techniques, you can keep pesky thrips at bay and ensure your plants remain in good health.

It’s crucial to inspect new plants before bringing them into your office space to ensure they are free from any infestations. Keeping your plants healthy and well-nourished is another key aspect of thrips prevention. As they often target weaker or stressed plants. Regular watering, proper fertilizing, and providing sufficient lighting and humidity levels all contribute to maintaining plant health.

Keeping plant areas clean and free of organic debris will also help reduce the likelihood of thrip infestations. Choosing plant varieties that are naturally resistant to thrips and other pests can be another effective prevention method. Additionally, planting pest-repelling plants such as lavender, marigold, and garlic can help deter thrips from your garden space.

It’s also essential to avoid over-fertilizing your plants, as this can make them more susceptible to pest infestations. And if you’re planting bulbs, treating them with dose of watered-down Lysol before planting can help protect them from thrips and other pests.

By following these prevention and care techniques, you can keep thrips and other pests at bay. And ensure your office plants remain healthy and vibrant. And if you do encounter a thrip infestation, remember to act quickly and take appropriate measures to prevent further damage to your plants.

If you’re dealing with thrips on your office plants, don’t hesitate to reach out to PLANTZ for expert guidance and advice. Our team of plant care specialists can help you identify the presence of thrips, provide you with solutions to get rid of them, and give you tips on how to prevent them from coming back. We offer a variety of plant care services, including plant consultations, fertilization, pruning, and pest control. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and let us help you keep your office plants healthy and beautiful. Together, we can create a thriving and inviting workspace for you and your team.


1. How do I know if my office plant has thrips?

Look for signs such as silvery or bronze-colored speckling on leaves, black fecal droppings, and distorted leaves or flowers.

2. Can thrips harm humans?

Thrips do not harm humans, but they can damage plants and reduce their overall health.

3. Can thrips spread to other plants?

Yes, thrips can easily move from one plant to another. So it’s important to isolate infected plants and take steps to prevent further spread.

4. Can I use natural methods to control thrips on my office plants?

Yes, there are several natural methods. Such as using sticky traps, spraying with neem oil or insecticidal soap, and introducing predatory insects like ladybugs.

5. How often should I inspect my office plants for thrips?

It’s a good practice to inspect your office plants on a regular basis. At least once a week, to catch any potential infestations early on and prevent them from spreading.