Citrus thrips

California Growers Gear Up for Citrus Thrips Threat

Daniel CooperCalifornia Corner, Pests

Citrus thrips caused serious problems for many California growers last year. This year, growers appear to be gearing up in case it is another bad season for thrips.

Citrus thrips
Citrus thrips
(Photo by Joseph Morse, University of California, Riverside,

“Going into this spring, there’s a lot of eyes on it,” said Colby Campbell, general manager of Cobblestone Fruit. “Everybody’s watching, and I think everybody has made preparations. Guys have called ahead seeing if there’s other people, other custom applicators that are available (to spray for thrips). I know some farms have purchased additional equipment just to make sure.”

Campbell said citrus thrips damage in 2023 was some of the worst he has ever seen. Up to 50% of some blocks were deemed unfit for the fresh market and had to be processed for juice instead. The issue was exacerbated by a challenging bloom period that followed record rains.

Equipment availability and timing also presented challenges for the citrus industry last year. Campbell said the situation was particularly difficult for smaller operations. Commercial sprayers were often busy with some farmers having to make multiple applications. Campbell said some growers had to spray up to four times last year to suppress the thrips. Many times, when applications were finally made, they were too late, and the thrips had already damaged the crop.

Cooperative Extension Area Citrus IPM Advisor Sandipa Gautam also reported last year that the citrus thrips caused significant damage. According to Gautam, many spray materials that normally would have provided two weeks or so of thrips protection only provided about five days efficacy in 2023. As much as 80% of fruit in some blocks experienced fruit scarring as a result of thrips infestations last year.

Learn more about citrus thrips from University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, including about the damage they cause and management techniques.

Source: AgNet West

Share this Post

Sponsored Content