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Greenhouse thrips - Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis

By N A Martin (2017 revised 2018)

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Click to collapse Classification Info






Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis (Bouche, 1833)

Click to collapse Common names Info

Greenhouse thrips, Black tea thrips, Glasshouse thrips

Click to collapse Synonyms Info

Thrips haemorrhoidalis Bouche, 1833

Heliothrips adonidum Haliday, 1836

Heliothrips semiaureus Girault, 1928

Heliothrips abdominalis Reuter, 1891

Heliothrips angustior Priesner, 1923

Heliothrips ceylonicus Schultz 1913

Dinurothrips rufiventris Girault, 1929

Click to collapse Taxonomic notes Info

Greenhouse thrips, Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis (Bouche, 1833) is one of four species of the subfamily Panchaetothripinae in New Zealand. The other three species are Palm thrips, Parthenothrips dracaenae (Heeger, 1854), Banana silvering thrips, Hercinothrips bicinctus (Bagnal, 1919) and an endemic species, Hangehange thrips, Sigmothrips aotearoana Ward, 1970. This subfamily is distinguished from other Thripidae by the dorsal surface of the head and prothorax being covered in reticulate sculpture. The maxillary palp is two segmented and the forewing has the first vein more or less fused to the costa. Another distinguishing feature of the four species in New Zealand is that they feed on mature or almost mature plant leaves.

This species is called the Greenhouse thrips because it was first discovered in a German greenhouse, and it was frequently found in European greenhouses.

Click to collapse Biostatus and distribution Info

This adventive species of thrips is widespread in the tropics and subtropics and lives on mature plant leaves. It was first found in New Zealand on rose and Virburnum leaves in 1930 by W. Cottier. In New Zealand it occurs throughout the North Island and the north of the South Island. In colder areas it may be restricted to pot plants and greenhouses. It is mainly found on adventive plants including crops and garden plants. It also occurs on native plants in native habitats.

Conservation status: Widespread in the North Island and present in the North of the South Island; on native and adventive plants in parks, gardens and native habitats. It may be regarded as a pest on some plants.

Click to collapse Life stages and annual cycle Info

The Greenhouse thrips appears to breed all year outdoors in Auckland and they can also breed all year on indoor plants. They live mainly on the mature leaves of their host plants as do the other three species of the subfamily Panchaetothripinae found in New Zealand. Males are rare in New Zealand so the species is mainly parthenogenetic in this country. Colonies often start on leaves in sheltered places with higher humidity. They sometime start by the moulted skin of and insect.


Adults like the other active stages of Greenhouse thrips are relatively long and thin. The body is black and the dorsal surface of the head and prothorax is strongly sculptured and reticulate. The three pairs of legs are white. The head has two antennae, two compound eyes and on the underside the mouth cone contains a pair of short maxillary stylets and a single stout mandible. The two pairs of wings when not used for flying are held over the abdomen. The narrow forewings have prominent white bases while the rest is pale brown. The tip of the abdomen contains an ovipositor for inserting eggs into leaves. Males are occasionally produced, but females usually lay eggs without mating.

Eggs and Larvae

Eggs are laid in either the upper or underside of the leaf depending on the plants species. A thin larva hatches from the egg. It is the shape of a tiny white wingless adult. Like the adult it has three pairs of legs, a pair of antennae and the same structures for feeding. There are two larval stages and two non-feeding stages, a prepupa and a pupa. The juvenile thrips go to the next stage by moulting. This involves the dorsal skin splitting and the next stage pulling itself out of the old skin. The second larva looks like the first larva. larva and may be yellow-green or grey coloured. The last two segments of the abdomen form a brownish cone with setae (hairs) around the tip of the anus. These setae are about the length of the terminal segment and help hold the faecal droplet. The droplet sometime runs over the larva’s body covering it with dark faecal matter.

Prepupa and Pupa

The first non-feeding stage, the prepupa, differs in appearance from the larva by having short wing buds. The next stage, the pupa, has longer wing buds and the antennae are folded back over the head. The prepupa and pupa live on leaves with the larvae.

Feeding and plant damage

Greenhouse thrips feed on mature leaves rather than young leaves. Larvae and adults use the stylets in their mouth cone to feed. They puncture plant cells with their single mandible and suck up the plant cell contents with their maxillary stylets. Their feeding kills the surface cells of the leaves creating distinctive pale areas of dead cells. The larvae carry a dark faecal droplet at the tip of the abdomen, that may run over the body or be flicked away at intervals.

Click to collapse Recognition Info

Greenhouse thrips are found on mature or almost mature leaves of host plants with typical thrips feeding damage. With the aid of a strong magnifying glass, they can be distinguished from the other three species in the subfamily Panchaetothripinae. The dorsal surface the head and prothorax of adults of the New Zealand species in this subfamily is strongly sculptured and reticulate.

Adult Greenhouse thrips body is black with white legs and its narrow wings have a white basal area. The wings of the other three species have black and white bands. The banana silvering thrips, Hercinothrips bicintus, and Hangehange thrips, Sigmothrips aotearoana, have narrow banded wings, and the Palm thrips, Parthenothrips dracaenae has broad banded wings.

If adults are absent, colonies of Greenhouse thrips are easily distinguished from those of the other Panchaetothripinae. The larvae, prepupae and pupae may all be found on host plant leaves and they are a greenish-yellow or grey. The larvae carry a faecal droplet which distinguishes them from Palm thrips, whose larvae, prepupae and pupae are a brilliant white. The larvae of banana silvering thrips, Hercinothrips bicintus, and Hangehange thrips, Sigmothrips aotearoana, also carry dark faecal droplets, but their colonies never have prepupae or pupae on the leaves.

In colonies without adults, prepupae and pupae, the end of the larval abdomen should be checked. This requires a strong magnifying glass or binocular microscope. Banana silvering thrips have no setae around the anus at the tip of the abdomen whereas Hangehange thrips larvae have long setae at the end of a long final segment. The Greenhouse thrips larva has a short wide final segment with short setae.

Colonies of Greenhouse thrips can be recognised by the presence of black pupae of the wasp parasitoid, Thripobius javae (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae).

Click to collapse Natural enemies Info

Two parasitoids and two predators of Greenhouse thrips are known in New Zealand.


The tiny wasps, Megaphragma sp. (Trichogrammitidae) are parasitoids of eggs, while another wasp, the Greenhouse thrips parasite, Thripobius javae (Eulophidae) lives in the larvaes. The female Greenhouse thrips parasite lays eggs in first instar (stage) or early second instar larvae. When the wasp larva is fuly grown it kills the thrips larva and makes a hole in its cuticle (skin). It pupates in the thrips larval skin. The pupa leaves the larva and attaches itself to the leaf surface and turns black. In New Zealand Thripobius javae only lives in greenhouse thrips and its presence on leaves shows that the thrips has been breeding on the plant. In January 2001, Thripobius javae from Italy were released into New Zealand for the control of greenhouse thrips after safety testing.


Two species of tiny wasp, Spilomena emarginata and Spilomena nozela (Crabronidae), that catch thrips and put them in cells in wood borer beetle tunnels, have been observed catching Greenhouse thrips. Spilomena species are minute, and place paralysed adult and larval thrips in holes of wood-boring insects. They make a cell in the hole, fill a cell with thrips, lay an egg and close the cell. The larva eats the paralyzed thrips. And then spin a cocoon in the cell, in which they pupate. Several females may use the same woodborer burrows.

Table: Natural enemies of Greenhouse thrips, Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), from Plant-SyNZ database (18 July 2017). The reliability index shows the quality of evidence for the host association (0-10, 10=high quality).
Scientific NameCommon NameClassificationEnemy TypeReliability IndexBiostatus
Megaphragma sp. (Wasp)Hymenoptera: Trichogrammitidaeparasitoid7adventive
Thripobius javae (Girault, 1917)Greenhouse thrips parasite (Wasp)Hymenoptera: Eulophidaeparasitoid10adventive
Spilomena emarginata Vardy, 1987 (Wasp)Hymenoptera: Crabronidaepredator10endemic
Spilomena nozela Vardy, 1987 (Wasp)Hymenoptera: Crabronidaepredator10native

Click to collapse Host plants Info

Greenhouse thrips has a very wide host range. In New Zealand it has been found feeding on more than 165 species of plant from 74 families and include about 60 indigenous species. Amongst its host plants are ferns, sedges, conifers, and broad-leaved trees and shrubs. It mainly feed on mature and over mature leaves, but will also feed on the fruit of some plants.

The adults and larvae may feed on either side of leaves. They feed by inserting their stylets plant cells at or near the surface of the leaf. They suck out the cell contents. Their presence can be recognised by the distinctive appearance of their feeding damage on leaves.

Table: Host plants of the Greenhouse thrips, Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) from Plant-SyNZ database (15 July 2018). The reliability score shows the quality of evidence for the host association (1-10, 10=high).
Common Name(s)Scientific NameFamilyReliability IndexBiostatus
Shining spleenwort, Huruhuruwhenua, Parenako, Paretao, Pānako, Paranako, Paretao, Urūru whenuaAsplenium oblongifolium ColensoAspleniaceae10endemic
Climbing hard fern, Thread fernBlechnum filiforme (A. Cunn.) EttingshausenBlechnaceae10endemic
Palm fern, Horokio, Kiokio, Korokio, Koropio, Mokimoki, Piupiu, Rautao, TupariBlechnum novae-zelandiae T.C. Chambers et P.A. FarrentBlechnaceae10endemic
Tree fernDicksonia sp.Dicksoniaceae9indigenous, non-endemic
Giant hypolepisHypolepis dicksonionioides (Endl.) Hook.Dennstaedtiaceae10indigenous, non-endemic
Hairy fernLastreopsis hispida (Sw.) TindaleDryopteridaceae10indigenous, non-endemic
 Lastreopsis microsora (Endl.) TindaleDryopteridaceae10indigenous, non-endemic
Velvet fernLastreopsis velutina (A.Rich.) TindaleDryopteridaceae10endemic
Hounds tongue, Hound's tongue fern, Strap fern, kōwaowao, pāraharaha, kōwaowao, Maratata, Pāraha, pāraharaha, RaumangaMicrosorum pustulatum (G.Forst.) Copel.Polypodiaceae10indigenous, non-endemic
Fragrant fern, Mokimoki, MokiMicrosorum scandens (G. Forst.) TindalePolypodiaceae9indigenous, non-endemic
Feather fern, Gully fern, Pākau, Pākau roharoha, Pakauroharoha, PiupiuPneumatopteris pennigera (G.Forst.) HolttumThelypteridaceae10indigenous, non-endemic
Coastal brake, Netted brakePteris comans G.Forst.Pteridaceae8indigenous, non-endemic
King fern, Horseshoe fern, Potato fern, Mouku, Para, Para reka, Para tawhiti, Uhipara, UwhiparaPtisana salicina (Sm.) MurdockMarattiaceae10indigenous, non-endemic
Hard todea, King fernTodea barbara (L.) T.MooreOsmundaceae10indigenous, non-endemic
Cedar wattleAcacia elata Benth.Leguminosae10naturalised
Blackwood, Tasmanian blackwoodAcacia melanoxylon R.Br.Leguminosae8naturalised
Sycamore, Mock plane, Scottish maple, Sycamore mapleAcer pseudoplatanus L.Sapindaceae10naturalised
Red maple, Scarlet maple, Soft maple, Swamp mapleAcer rubrum L.Sapindaceae10cultivated
Himalayan maple, Sikkhim mapleAcer sikkimense Miq.Sapindaceae10cultivated
Mākaka, MakamakaAckama rosifolia A.Cunn.Cunoniaceae10endemic
Kiwifruit, Kiwi berryActinidia arguta (Siebold & Zucc.) Planch. ex Miq.Actinidiaceae9cultivated
 Actinidia chinensis Planch.Actinidiaceae8naturalised
Red horse-chestnutAesculus xcarnea HayneSapindaceae10cultivated
New Zealand ash, Tapitapi, Tītoki, Tītongi, Tokitoki, Tongitongi, TopitopiAlectryon excelsus Gaertn.Sapindaceae10endemic
AlderAlnus sp.Betulaceae7unknown
 Alocasia sp.Araceae7unknown
Shrubby honeysuckle, Horopito, Karapapa, Korotaiko, Pere, ToropapaAlseuosmia macrophylla A. Cunn.Alseuosmiaceae10endemic
Marsh mallow, White mallowAlthaea officinalis L.Malvaceae8naturalised
Cruel plant, Kapok vine, Moth plant, White bladder flowerAraujia horturum E.Fourn.Apocynaceae6naturalised
Cane apple, Strawberry treeArbutus unedo L.Ericaceae10naturalised
Areng palm, Black-fiber palm, sugar palmArenga pinnata (Wurmb) Merr.Palmae10cultivated
Wineberry, Mako, MakomakoAristotelia serrata (J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.) W.R.B.OliverElaeocarpaceae10endemic
Brush bloodwoodBaloghia inophylla (G.Forst.) P.S.GreenEuphorbiaceae8naturalised
TaraireBeilschmiedia tarairi (A.Cunn.) Benth. & Hook.f. ex KirkLauraceae9endemic
BergeniaBergenia hybridSaxifragaceae7cultivated
CamelliaCamellia brevistyla (Hayata) Cohen-StuartTheaceae10cultivated
CamelliaCamellia grijsii HanceTheaceae10naturalised
CamelliaCamellia sp.Theaceae6cultivated
 Carex aff geminataCyperaceae9endemic
Natal plum, AmantunguluCarissa macrocarpa (Eckl.) A. DC.Apocynaceae9cultivated
HornbeamCarpinus betulus L.Betulaceae10cultivated
White sapoteCasimiroa edulis La Llave & Lex.Rutaceae10cultivated
Spanish chesnut, Sweet chestnutCastanea sativa MillerFagaceae10naturalised
European redbud, Judas tree, Love treeCercis siliquastrum L.Leguminosae9naturalised
 Chaenomeles x superba (Frahm) RehderRosaceae10cultivated
 Chamaedorea pochutlensis Liebm.Palmae10cultivated
Mexican orange blossomChoisya ternata KunthRutaceae9cultivated
Rock roseCistus sp.Cistaceae5naturalised
CitrusCitrus sp.Rutaceae7unknown
Lilly of the valley tree, FolhadoClethra arborea W.T.AitonClethraceae10naturalised
Kākawariki, Kanono, Kapukiore, Karamū-kueo, Kueo (fruit), Manono, Pāpāuma, Raurēkau, ToherāoaCoprosma grandifolia Hook.f.Rubiaceae10endemic
Cabbage tree, Giant dracena, Grass palm, Palm lily, Sago palm, Ti, Kāuka, Kiokio, Kōuka, Tī, Tī awe, Ti kōuka, Tī para, Tī pua, Tī rākau, WhanakeCordyline australis (G.Forst.) Endl.Asparagaceae10endemic
Tree tutu, Pūhou, Tāweku, Tūpākihi, TutuCoriaria arborea Linds.Coriariaceae10endemic
Bentham's cornel, Himalayan strawberry tree, Strawberry dogwoodCornus capitata Wall.Cornaceae10naturalised
Red flowering gum, Scarlet flowering gumCorymbia ficifolia (F.Muell.) K.D.Hill & L.A.S.JohnsonMyrtaceae8naturalised
Karaka nut, Karaka, KōpīCorynocarpus laevigatus J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.Corynocarpaceae10endemic
Hawthorn, Neapolitan medlar, White hawthornCrataegus monogyna Jacq.Rosaceae10naturalised
Monbretia, CrocosmiaCrocosmia ×crocosmiiflora (G.Nicholson) N.E.Br.Iridaceae10naturalised
Japanese cedar, SugiCryptomeria japonica (Thunb. ex L.f.) D.DonCupressaceae9naturalised
Alpine violet, Cyclamen, Persian violet, SowbreadCyclamen sp.Primulaceae7cultivated
 Cymbidium sp.Orchidaceae7cultivated
Dovetree, Ghost-tree, Handkerchief treeDavidia involucrata Baill.Cornaceae10cultivated
Persimon, Chinese persimmon, Date plum, Japanese persimmon, Kaki, Key figDiospyros kaki Thunb.Ebenaceae8cultivated
Strawberry snowball treeDombeya cacuminum Hochr.Malvaceae10cultivated
 Dracophyllum sinclairii CheesemanEricaceae9endemic
 Dysoxylum sp. MARCMeliaceae9cultivated
New Zealand mahogany, Kohe, Kohekohe, Koheriki, Kohepi (flowers), Kohepu (flowers), Māota (flowers)Dysoxylum spectabile (G.Forst.) Hook.f.Meliaceae10endemic
Hangehange, Hīnau, Pōkākā, WhīnauElaeocarpus dentatus (J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.) VahlElaeocarpaceae10endemic
Hauama, Houama, Whau, Whauama, WhaumaEntelea arborescens R.Br.Malvaceae8endemic
EscalloniaEscallonia sp.Escalloniaceae7unknown
Bangalay, Southern mahoganyEucalyptus botryoides Sm.Myrtaceae8naturalised
Brown barrel, Cut tailEucalyptus fastigata H.Deane & MaidenMyrtaceae8naturalised
Yellow stringybarkEucalyptus muelleriana A.W.HowittMyrtaceae9naturalised
Black gum, Swamp gumEucalyptus ovata Labill.Myrtaceae9naturalised
Giant gum, Mountain ash, Stringy gum, Swamp gumEucalyptus regnans F. Muell.Myrtaceae10naturalised
Swamp mahoganyEucalyptus robusta Sm.Myrtaceae8naturalised
Sydney blue gumEucalyptus saligna Sm.Myrtaceae8naturalised
 Euphorbia mellifera AitonEuphorbiaceae10naturalised
Common beech, European beechFagus sylvatica L.Fagaceae10cultivated
Fatsia, Glossy-leaved paper plant, Japanese aralia, Rice paper plant, YatsudeFatsia japonica (Thunb.) Decne. & Planch.Araliaceae10naturalised
ForsythiaForsythia suspensa (Thunb.) VahlOleaceae10cultivated
FuchsiaFuchsia ×hybrida Vilm.Onagraceae8cultivated
Tree fuchsia, Hōnā (fruit), Kōhutuhutu, Kōnini (fruit), Kōtukutuku, Māti (fruit), Tākawa (fruit)Fuchsia excorticata (J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.) L.f.Onagraceae10endemic
Creeping fuchsia, Trailing fuchsia, Climbing fuchsiaFuchsia procumbens A.Cunn.Onagraceae10endemic
Silky oakGrevillea robusta R.Br.Proteaceae8naturalised
 Gunnera dentata KirkGunneraceae8endemic
Shrubby haloragis, ToatoaHaloragis erecta (Banks ex Murray) OkenHaloragaceae10endemic
Red ginger lilyHedychium greenii W. W. Sm.Zingiberaceae10cultivated
Spanish shawlHeeria rosea TrianaAnacardiaceae10cultivated
Swamp hibiscusHibiscus diversifolius Jacq.Malvaceae10indigenous, non-endemic
Hibiscus, Rose mallow, Rose of China, Rose of Sharon, Shrub altheaHibiscus sp. (cultivated)Malvaceae7cultivated
Lacebark, Hohere, Hoihere, Houhere, Houhi, Houhi ongaonga, Houī, Ongaonga, Whauahi, WheuhiHoheria populnea A.CunnMalvaceae10endemic
Hydrangea, Tea of heavenHydrangea macrophylla (Thunb.) Ser. subsp. serrata (Thunb.) MakinoHydrangeaceae10cultivated
 Hypericum sp, 'cultivated shrub'Hypericaceae7cultivated
Mistletoe, Small-flowered mistletoe, Pikirangi, Pirinoa, Pirirangi, PiritaIleostylus micranthus (Hook.f.) Tiegh.Loranthaceae10endemic
Japanese walnutJuglans ailantifolia CarrièreJuglandaceae8naturalised
Common juniperJuniperus communis L.Cupressaceae10cultivated
New Zealand honeysuckle, RewarewaKnightia excelsa R.Br.Proteaceae9endemic
White tea tree, Kānuka, Kōpuka, Manuea, Mānuka, Mānuka-rauriki, Mārū, Rauiri, RauwiriKunzea ericoides s.l. (A.Rich.) Joy Thomps.Myrtaceae9indigenous, non-endemic
Bay, Laurel, Sweet bayLaurus nobilis L.Lauraceae10naturalised
Liquid amber, Bilsted, Red gum, Sweet gumLiquidambar styraciflua L.Hamamelidaceae10naturalised
Tulip poplar, Tulip tree, Whitewood, Yellow poplarLiriodendron tulipifera L.Magnoliaceae10naturalised
Mangeao, Mangeo, Tangeao, TangeoLitsea calicaris (Sol. ex A.Cunn.) Benth. & Hook.f. ex KirkLauraceae10endemic
New Zealand myrtle, RamaramaLophomyrtus bullata BurretMyrtaceae10endemic
Brushbox, Vinegar tree, Brisbane boxLophostemon confertus (R.Br.) Peter G.Wilson & J.T.Waterh.Myrtaceae8cultivated
 Loropetalum sp. "Razzleberries"Hamamelidaceae10cultivated
Chinese magnolia, Saucer magnolia, Soulange-Boudins magnoliaMagnolia ×soulangeana Soul.-Bod.Magnoliaceae10cultivated
Apple, Crab-appleMalus ×domestica Borkh.Rosaceae9naturalised
Apple, Crab-appleMalus sp.Rosaceae7unknown
Crimson bottlebrush, Lemon bottlebrushMelaleuca citrina (Curtis) Dum.Cours.Myrtaceae8cultivated
Houkūmara, Koheriki, Tākaka, Tātaka, Wharangi, WharangipiroMelicope ternata J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.Rutaceae10endemic
Puka, PukanuiMeryta sinclairii Hook. f.) Seem.Araliaceae10endemic
Bartlett's rataMetrosideros bartlettii J.W.DawsonMyrtaceae10endemic
White rata, RātāMetrosideros diffusa (G.Forst.) Sm.Myrtaceae10endemic
New Zealand Christmas tree, Hutukawa, Kahika, Pohutukawa, Pōhutukawa, RātāMetrosideros excelsa Sol. ex Gaertn.Myrtaceae10endemic
Clinging rata, Small white rata, Aka, Akatea, Akatorotoro, Koro, Torotoro, WhakapiopioMetrosideros perforata (J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.) A.Rich.Myrtaceae10endemic
Large-leaved muehlenbeckia, Pōhuehue, PukaMuehlenbeckia australis (G.Forst.) Meisn.Polygonaceae10indigenous, non-endemic
Scrub pohuehue, Small-leaved pohuehue, Wire vine, Pōhue, Pōhuehue, Pōpōhue, Tororaro, WaekāhuMuehlenbeckia complexa (A.Cunn.) Meissn.Polygonaceae10indigenous, non-endemic
NgaioMyoporum laetum G.Forst.Scrophulariaceae10endemic
Red mapou, Red matipo, Māpau, Māpou, Mataira, Matipou, Takapou, Tāpau, TīpauMyrsine australis (A.Rich.) AllanPrimulaceae10endemic
ToroMyrsine salicina Heward ex Hook.f.Primulaceae10endemic
White maire, Maire, Maire raunui, Maire raurikiNestegis lanceolata (Hook.f.) L.A.S.JohnsonOleaceae10endemic
Black gum, Black tupelo, Sour-gumNyssa sylvatica MarshallNyssaceae10cultivated
Black passionfruit, Purple granadilla, Purple passionfruitPassiflora edulis SimsPassifloraceae10naturalised
Banana passionfruitPassiflora sp. 'banana passion fruit'Passifloraceae7naturalised
Hanging geranium, Ivy-leaved geraniumPelargonium peltatum (L.) L'H'er.Geraniaceae10naturalised
Ahikōmau, Hine-kaikōmako, Kahikōmako, KaikōmakoPennantia corymbosa J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.Pennantiaceae10endemic
Swamp willow weed, TūtunāwaiPersicaria decipiens (R.Br.) K.L.WilsonPolygonaceae9indigenous, non-endemic
Coastal flax, Mountain flax, Kōrari-tuauru, WhararikiPhormium cookianum Le JolisHemerocallidaceae10endemic
Flax, Lowland flax, New Zealand flax, Swamp flax, Harakeke, Harareke, KōrariPhormium tenax J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.Hemerocallidaceae10endemic
Christmas berryPhotinia sp.Rosaceae6unknown
Japanese pearl flower, Lily-of-the-valley-bushPieris japonica (Thunb.) D.Don ex G.DonEricaceae10naturalised
Monterey pine, Radiata pinePinus radiata D. DonPinaceae10naturalised
London planePlatanus ×hispanica Mill. ex Münchh. var. 'Acerifolia'Platanaceae10naturalised
Pale-flowered kumarahou, Kūmarahou, Kūmararaunui, PāpapaPomaderris hamiltonii L.B.MooreRhamnaceae10endemic
Golden tainui, Gum-digger's soap, Kūmarahou, Kūmararaunui, PāpapaPomaderris kumeraho A.Cunn.Rhamnaceae10endemic
Aspen, Cottonwood, PoplarPopulus sp.Salicaceae7naturalised
Cherry laurelPrunus laurocerasus L.Rosaceae9cultivated
Portugal laurel, Portugese laurelPrunus lusitanica L.Rosaceae10naturalised
Nectarine, PeachPrunus persica (L.) Batsch.Rosaceae9naturalised
CherryPrunus sp. 'cherry'Rosaceae7naturalised
 Prunus sp. 'Red leaf'Rosaceae8cultivated
Blue Douglas fir, Douglas fir, Oregon pinePseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) FrancoPinaceae10naturalised
Lowland horopito, Lowland pepper tree, Horopito, PuhikawaPseudowintera axillaris (J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.) DandyWinteraceae10endemic
Pin oak, Spanish oakQuercus palustris Muenchh.Fagaceae10naturalised
Common oak, English oak, Oak, Truffle oakQuercus robur L.Fagaceae10naturalised
Evergreen buckthorn, Italian buckthornRhamnus alaternus L.Rhamnaceae10naturalised
Azalea, RhododendronRhododendron sp.Ericaceae7unknown
Feather duster palm, Nikau palm, NīkauRhopalostylis sapida H.Wendl. & DrudePalmae10endemic
RoseRosa sp. 'cultivated'Rosaceae7cultivated
Dock, SorrelRumex sp.Polygonaceae7unknown
Pussy willowSalix ×reichardtii A.Kern.Salicaceae10naturalised
Babylon weeping willow, Napoleon's willow, Weeping willowSalix babylonica L.Salicaceae10naturalised
Black elder, Elder, ElderberrySambucus nigra L.Adoxaceae10naturalised
 Sassafras tzumu (Hemsl.) Hemsl.Lauraceae10cultivated
 Saurauia subspinosa J. AnthonyActinidiaceae10cultivated
Seven-finger, Kohi, Kotētē, Patate, Patatē, Patē, PatētēSchefflera digitata J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.Araliaceae10endemic
Californian redwood, Coast redwoodSequoia sempervirens (D.Don) Endl.Cupressaceae10naturalised
Caucasian bladdernutStaphylea colchica StevenStaphyleaceae10cultivated
Tall stewartiaStewartia monadelpha Siebold & Zucc.Theaceae10cultivated
Swamp maire, Maire tawake, Maire tawhake, Puka, Tuhuhi, WhāwhākouSyzygium maire (A.Cunn.) Sykes & Garn.-JonesMyrtaceae10endemic
Lilly pilly, Rose appleSyzygium sp.Myrtaceae6unknown
 Tibouchina granulosa (Desr.) Cogn.Melastomataceae10cultivated
Henry's LimeTilia henryana Szyszyl.Malvaceae10cultivated
GorseUlex europaeus L.Leguminosae8naturalised
Scotch elm, Wych elmUlmus glabra Mill.Ulmaceae10naturalised
American blueberry, Blueberry, Highbush blueberry, Swamp blueberryVaccinium corybosum L.Ericaceae9naturalised
Chinese wood-oil-tree, Tung-oil-treeVernicia fordii (Hemsl.) Airy ShawEuphorbiaceae9cultivated
Japanese snowball, Snowball treeViburnum plicatum Thunb.Adoxaceae10naturalised
LaurustinusViburnum tinus L.Adoxaceae10naturalised
GrapeVitis vinifera L.Vitaceae10naturalised
Tawhero, TōwaiWeinmannia silvicola Sol. ex A.Cunn.Cunoniaceae10endemic

Click to collapse Control Info

Where possible maximise the non-pesticide controls before considering pesticides. Pesticides can kill the natural enemies of Greenhouse thrips and of other potential pests of the plant. They can also harm pollinators.

Non-pesticide options

Plants vary greatly in their genetic susceptibility to Greenhouse thrips. The environment in which they are growing and the way they are managed can also influence the amount of Greenhouse thrips damage experienced by plants. Year-year differences in the summer and autumn weather can also influence the development of Greenhouse thrips populations and the damage done to plants.

A Where possible choose plant species that are not susceptible, or for susceptible species choose cultivars that are less susceptible.

B Greenhouse thrips does well in warm humid weather in summer and autumn.

. Encourage air movement around the plant to lower humidity within the plant.

. Train susceptible plants to keep them open.

. Avoid planting them in shady places.

C Plants stressed by drought and lack of nutrients are more susceptible to greenhouse thrips.

. Keep plants adequately watered and fertilised.


Pesticides can have adverse effects on natural enemies that provide beneficial control of other pests. They can also adversely affect honey bees and other pollinators. They should only be used when there is no other option.

Greenhouse thrips tend to live in protected places on leaves, such as where two leaves are close together, in hollows and where leaves are curled over. When using contact insecticides, it is important to get extremely good coverage of both sides of the leaves if you need to substantially reduce the thrips population.

Note that short-lived insecticides may not kill all the larvae hatching from eggs in the leaves. You may need two applications of short-lived insecticides to achieve long term control.

Home gardeners should consult their local Garden Centre about products suitable and safe to use on their plants. Commercial growers should consult their horticultural products supplier and their professional organisation.

Commercial Growers

If pesticides are required, growers should consult their professional organisation for guidance on pesticides that are allowed and how to minimise the adverse impact on other organisms in the crop. There may be an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for the crop that will provide comprehensive guidelines for dealing with all potential pest and disease problems.

Click to collapse Additional information Info

Classical biological control and safety testing

Classical biological control of a pest or weed involves the release of a natural enemy, parasite, predator or pathogen into another country where the pest or weed has established itself. Ideally, the natural enemy provides adequate control of the pest or weed, that it no longer a problem. Many such natural enemies have been released into New Zealand, and some have been very successful.

Today, a potential biological control agent must be tested for safety to native and beneficial organisms in New Zealand. An application to release the organism into New Zealand must be made to the Environmental Risk Management Agency (ERMA). ERMA has to assess the risks and benefits from the proposed release. Once permission for release has been granted, the organism is imported into quarantine and tested for freedom form diseases and parasites.

Safety testing for the Greenhouse thrips parasite, Thripobius javae (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) focussed on its potential to parasitise the only endemic thrips in the subfamily Panchaetothripinae. All known host of the wasp are in this subfamily. The testing in quarantine compared the ability of the parasitoid to parasitize and successfully develop in greenhouse thrips larvae and Hangehange thrips, Sigmothrips aotearoana, larvae. Fewer Hangehange thrips larvae were parasitised and fewer wasps that pupated in Hangehange thrips became adults. The main problem with these laboratory experiments, was the relatively poor survival rate of the Hangehange thrips.

Reproduction and Parthenogenesis in Thysanoptera

In Thysanoptera, females are diploid (2 sets of chromosomes) and males are haploid (one set of chromosomes). Males are produced from unfertilised eggs. This type of reproduction is called Arrhenotoky. The proportion of males to females in a population is variable. In Palm thrips this appears to be related to temperature. In a warm greenhouse (25-28°C) there are very few males, 6-7 per 100 females, while in a cooler greenhouse (18-20°C) there are more males. Where there are very few or no males, females can reproduce without fertilisation. This is called Thelotoky, form of parthenogenesis. In populations where there are very few males there are probably two types of female present, Arrhenotokous and Thelotokous.

Palm thrips is the first species from the Thysanoptera order that was found to be capable of thelytokous parthenogenetic reproduction. This characteristic is contained in the Latin name of the genus, Parthenothrips.

Click to collapse Information sources Info

Bernardo U, Viggiani G, Sasso R. 2005. Biological parameters of Thripobius semiluteus Boucˇek (Hym., Eulophidae), a larval endoparasitoid of Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis (Bouche´) (Thysan., Thripidae). Journal of Applied Entomology 129 (5): 250-257.

Froud, K. J.; Stevens, P. S.; Cowley, D. R., 1996: A Potential Biological Control Agent for Greenhouse Thrips. Proceedings of the 49th New Zealand Plant Protection Society Conference, Palmerston North, 17-20.

Harris AC. 1994. Sphecidae (Insecta: Hymenoptera). Fauna of New Zealand. 32: 1-106.

Jamieson LE, Froud K, Edwards R, Stevens PS. 2008. Establishment of Thripobius javae (=semiluteus) in New Zealand. New Zealand Plant Protection. 61: 17-23.

Lewis T. 1973. Thrips their biology, ecology and economic importance. Academic Press, London, UK. Pp. 1-349.

Martin NA. 2016. Distinguishing feature of immature stages of Panchaetothripinae (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) known in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 43 (4): 1-8.

Martin NA. 2017. Host plants of Panchaetothripinae (Thysanoptera: Terebrantia: Thripidae) in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 44 (1): 1-8.

Martin NA, Mound LA. 2004. Host plants for some New Zealand thrips (Thysanoptera: Terebrantia). New Zealand Entomologist. 27: 119-123.

Mound LA, Walker AK. 1982. Terebrantia (Insecta: Thysanoptera). Fauna of New Zealand. 1: 1-113.

Plant-SyNZ: Invertebrate herbivore-host plant association database.

Click to collapse Acknowledgements Info

The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited (Plant & Food Research) for permission to use photographs.

Landcare Research New Zealand Limited (Landcare Research) for permission to use photographs.

Click to collapse Other images Info

Click to collapse Update history Info

1 August 2018, NA Martin. Update Host plant list, photos host plants and of adult parasitoid added.

14 September 2017. NA Martin. Life stages text changed to say males are sometimes found in New Zealand.

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