By Jesse Lee
What do they look like?
Myoporum Thrips (Klambothrips myopori) larvae are mainly white to light pink or orange in appearance, with light-brown legs and antennal segments.
Adult Myoporum thrips are shiny and black, with wings and a long posterior tube. As with most thrips, the pest has a small, narrow body.
Host material and range
Myoporum thrips originated in Australia or New Zealand and were accidentally introduced in California. They continue to thrive and expand throughout Southern California.
The pest feeds on various species of the Myoporum plant, an Australian shrub found in and around Southern California.
Myoporum thrips devastate and often destroy the Myoporum that act as host to the insects. The thrips feeds on the foliage, wounding the leaves and causing a withering distortion. In addition, thrips lay their eggs in galls in the leaves, causing further damage. Left untreated, or with particularly heavy infestation, the thrips can kill the Myoporum.
Because of the prevalence and continued planting of the Myoporum plants throughout Southern California as an ornamental shrub, the threat of continued infestation and spread of the thrips is high.
Ensuring that the Myoporum plant is healthy, with plenty of nutrition and water for increased vigor, is one of the best options. Although it may not completely prevent infestation, it will help the plant survive an attack until treatment can be applied.
There are a few available options for treating Myoporum thrips infestation.
Least-toxic, narrow-range oils and insecticidal soaps have been found effective in smothering the pest. And treating affected or at-risk shrubs with a fertilizer application can increase vigor to help fight off or withstand infestation. However, avoid over-fertilization that may promote thrips infestations.
Another highly effective treatment option is the use of micro-infusion applications of abamectin, which should be used once or twice per year.
What can you do?
Prune damage after treatment and fertilize the plant to increase vigor for recovery. The Myoporum plant is extremely hardy and able to come back from an infestation given proper treatment.
Jesse Lee is with Epic Creative, Wis. Article provided by Mauget a leader in micro-injection and micro-infusion tree care. To learn more about the Myoporum Thrips, steps taken to prevent and control it, and proper pesticide application and use visit www.Mauget.com.