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Pests in the Northeastern United States

Editors: W.T. Wilsey, C.R. Weeden, and A.M. Shelton

Onion Thrips (Thrips tabaci) - Life Cycle
Click for larger image Adults:
Onion thrips vary in color from white to yellow to brown. The adults are very small, 1/6 inch long, slender and pointed at both ends. The males are wingless, extremely rare and are not needed for reproduction. The adult females have four slender wings which, when folded, extend slightly past the tip of their abdomen. Wings are fringed with long hairs. In the field, adult thrips may be identified by their small size and rapid movement on the leaf surface.
Female thrips lay white, bean-shaped eggs in plant leaves. Eggs hatch in 5-10 days.
The immature (nymph) stages are similar in form to the adults, but are lighter in color, wingless, smaller in size, and slower moving.

Damage inflicted by onion thrips on cabbage and crucifers

Damage inflicted by onion thrips on onions

Some information on this page taken from Insects of Vegetables: Cornell Cooperative Extension factsheet number 102GFS750.75 authored by J. T. Andaloro and A. M. Shelton.

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Maintained by Jason D. Plate. Last updated Mar. 8th, 2007.