South Florida continues to be a hot spot for Asian bean thrips (ABT). According to UF/IFAS, the insect that feeds on wild cowpea is increasing across the region. Charlotte County is the latest county in which the ABT has been identified.
Populations have also been observed in West Palm Beach.
Other species of thrips have increased as well. Multiple farms have thrips of other species. However, it’s ABT that seems to be the prevailing problem for many producers.
“One scout noted that after a swarm of thrips moved into blooming plants, the grower sprayed and only ABT was left. This highlights the potential difficulty of managing ABT after the budding stage,” according to this week’s UF/IFAS scouting report.
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Prevention is an important foundation of an Integrated Pest Management program. These measures include cultural control, such as sanitation, utilizing resistant varieties and establishing crop free periods. One aspect of preventative measures that must be taken by growers to sufficiently reduce populations of an insect pest is eliminating its alternate hosts.