Black Thrips Common in Citrus this Year
A number of Tulare County PCAs have observed a very dark thrips infesting the calyx and areas of the rind where fruit touch in mandarins this year. Samples were collected and identified by Dr. Mark Hoddle (Dept of Entomology, UC Riverside) as western flower thrips. We don't normally consider this thrips a pest of the rind of citrus. However, in some cases, a circular scarring was associated with the thrips feeding on the rind of the fruit. It is likely this is a rare event, precipitated by freeze and drought conditions. Should growers treat for this thrips? This decision has to be made based on each individual situation. The thrips have likely already done the damage and will be difficult to control with insecticides because they are tucked away. In addition, they will readily move to flowers when they become available.