Monstera plants are susceptible to bugs such as thrips. These insects feed on the sap of your plant, leaving behind big problems.
You should frequently inspect your monstera plant leaves to look for signs of thrips infestation.
These pests are small, slim and dark in color, so they can be hard to spot without a magnifying glass.
Make sure that you are providing your plant with adequate light and water in order to prevent any future infestations from occurring.
Let’s find out ways on how to get rid of thrips on monstera.
How to Get Rid of Thrips on Monstera
The first step is to inspect your monstera plant and look for signs of thrips infestation. If you do find any, try to remove them using natural or homemade products such neem oil. You can as well spray them with insecticides other chemical products.
What are Thrips?
Thrips are tiny, tubular-shaped flying pests about the size of a sewing needle. They can be brown or white and pretty difficult to see due to their size and camouflage.
Thrips use their asymmetrical mouthparts to feed on and damage various plants, including Monstera.
Thrips are also referred to as Thunderflies or Thysanoptera. They suck on plant parts and can perforate and transmit diseases to the plants they invade.
They prefer to exist on the underside of the plant leaves but can also live on stems or the top-facing surface of Monstera leaves.
It may take a few weeks for the damage caused to your Monstera to become noticeable once the pests attack.
They will first suck the sap out of your Monstera leaves and then lay more eggs on them. The damage can spread quickly once thrips lay their eggs on your plant, causing unsightly brown and black spots.
Thrips Life Cycle
The biological clock for thrips typically varies depending on the host plant, region, species, and other variables.
Mature thrips become active and lay eggs in the spring. They then lie dormant in the plant’s bark and other materials, such as plant waste, when the seasons change.
The eggs deposited in plant tissue typically hatch in three to five days. The subsequent nymphs can be pretty dangerous to the plant as they eat for one to three weeks straight before resting for another one to two weeks.
The immature insects then molt into adults, which have about a one-month lifespan. Despite the short lifespan, the creatures can have as many as 15 generations yearly, during which they can wreak havoc on the new plants they invade.
Identification: What do Thrips Look Like?
Thrips look like tiny dark splinters on the plant. They are typically hard to see with your bare eyes unless you observe them closely with a magnifying glass.
When magnified, the insects look more like lobsters. Alternatively, you can shake the pests onto a white background to see them better.
Fully-grown thrips are tiny, with a slender profile. They measure about 1/50 to 1/25 inches long and have a yellow or brown-to-black color.
Like any flying insects, thrips will likely use their thin, fringed wings to fly away or leap off the surface if you approach them.
The nymphs are smaller than adult thrips and lack fully developed wings. You can tell them apart from the adult ones with their yellow or light green colors and red eyes. The adult ones tend to be darker colored.
Types of Thrips on Monstera
Not all thrips that attack Monstera plants look the same. Two types of thrips exist: the Egyptian and Western flower thrips.
1. The Egyptian flower thrips
These are slightly larger types of thrips, measuring about two to three millimeters. They can be black or dark brown, with a characteristic curved shape.
These pests feed by perforating plant tissue and sucking out the fluids. This often causes the plant leaves to become distorted and discolored.
2. The Western flower thrips
This is the most common species of thrips affecting Monstera plants. They are brown or pale yellow pests measuring one to two millimeters, making them the smaller type.
However, like Egyptian flower thrips, these monstera pests punctuate plant cells and suck the contents for food. This dehydrates the plant leaves, making them distorted and discolored.
Both thrips species are small insects with wings and the ability to destroy plant leaves and flowers extensively.
Prompt action against each of these types is crucial once you detect any signs of thrip infestation to prevent them from damaging your Monstera further.
Can Thrips Damage Monstera?
Absolutely. Pregnant female thrips pierce the plant’s tissue and then lay their eggs in the damaged tissue.
Their eggs hatch within a few days, releasing fast-eating caterpillars that quickly and severely suck the sap out of the Monstera plants.
If the invaders are not terminated soon, they can lead to the apoptosis of the entire Monstera plant within a short period.
This is because, like any plant, Monstera cannot carry adequate amounts of water and nutrients across the stem without fluids.
What Does Thrips Damage Look Like on Monstera?
Since thrips suck fluids out of plant cells, they leave the Monstera plant leaves discolored and distorted.
The female ones also typically lay eggs on the damaged plant leaves, making them appear to have brown or black spots.
How the thrips’ damage looks may vary depending on the extent of the damage, the type of thrips causing them, and the stage they are in their lifecycle.
Here are some detailed pointers you can expect to see in Monstera leaves that thrips have infested.
i. Wilting or drooping of the plant’s leaves
First, the pests damage the leaves and lay eggs there. The eggs hatch and release caterpillars that further siphon the sap out of the plant tissue, leaving the eaves dehydrated. This leads to wilting and drooping of the plant.
If the Monstera in your house has drooping, wilting, or curling leaves, they might be hosting thrips.
Wilting occurs when the cells in the plant’s leaves no longer have their turgor pressure. This is the pressure that healthy plant cells exert from the inside of the leaves when they are filled with tissue fluid, making them rigid.
ii. Brown or yellow leaf discoloration
Thrips typically cause yellow or brown discoloration around the middle of the leaf. This characteristic sets the discoloration apart from one caused by other factors.
If the brown color appears from the edges, the problem may be originating from a different problem. But if it is concentrated in specific areas in the middle of the leaf, your Monstera may have a thrip infestation.
You’re probably aware that brown or yellow leaves might result from various factors.
iii. Black spots on the Monstera leaves
Female thrips perforate the plant’s leaves and lay eggs in the damaged tissue. The resulting infestation will cause noticeable black or dark brown spots, indicating the presence of thrips on the discolored leaves.
If you observe these tiny dark patches closely, you might be able to see the movement of these flying insects.
Other telltale signs of thrips infestation on Monstera leaves include the following:
- Fading or yellowing Monstera leaves due to increasing nutrient deficiency.
- The premature dropping of the plant’s leaves in distorted, papery form.
- The presence of tiny white flies around stems, leaves, and soil.
How to Get Rid of Thrips on Monstera
Once you have noticed one or more of these telltale signs of thrips infestation, prompt action is required.
Notice that thrips can be pretty stubborn, and fighting their infestation will require killing the pests and their eggs. Otherwise, the eggs will hatch and begin a whole new generation of these tiny critters.
You may have to conduct more than one round of treatment to destroy the pests and their eggs and eliminate the infestation.
Thankfully, there are several different effective way to treat thrips infestation and destroy their eggs simultaneously.
Let’s look at seven tried and true tricks.
1. Kill the bugs with natural or homemade products.
You can use up to three different kinds of natural or homemade products to kill thrips. Here is a breakdown of the various options to consider.
Neem oil is a popular treatment for most houseplant infestations. It kills several types of insects, including thrips, mealybugs, aphids, whiteflies, leafhoppers, Japanese beetles, and fungus gnats.
The oil is also effective in terminating other garden pests like nematodes and spider mites. Additionally, neem oil can eliminate fungal diseases like black spots, powdery mildew, scab, and anthracnose.
Neem oil only kills pests when it is wet, so apply it to the infected Monstera plant in the morning or during the evening hours for maximum efficiency.
Be sure to follow the instructions on its container for the best results. Also, consider adding a few drops of laundry detergent to the oil and spraying the mixture on the affected Monstera plant.
This will kill the thrips and any other pests creeping on your houseplant leaves.
Homemade insecticide: soapy water
While the term insecticide may sound sophisticated, the actual product is not. Your homemade insecticide can be something as simple as a solution or soap and water.
Simply add about two teaspoons of liquid soap to a quart of water and mix well. Then put the soapy mixture in a spray bottle and apply it to the infested leaves immediately.
Like neem oil, you may want to spray the soapy water onto the leaves in the morning or evening because they only work when wet.
You don’t want the hot midday sun to dry it out before it works on the thrips. Also, applying the solution once may not be enough to kill the entire population of pests on your houseplant.
So ensure you repeat the exercise every four to seven days until the signs of infestation are gone.
Caveat: Do not drench the Monstera leaves with soapy water. Just spray enough, and ensure it does not stay wet for extended periods.
Spraying the soapy solution instead of pouring it onto the leaves will help you achieve this outcome.
Instead of preparing your own soapy solution, you can also buy a commercial insecticidal soap.
These soaps contain potassium fatty acid ingredients that actively destroy the outer shells of the pests, dehydrating them.
Horticultural or insecticidal soaps are available online or in stores near you.
These soaps work best when wet and will have little impact when dry.
2. Spray them with insecticides or chemical products.
Most methods of terminating bugs are relatively slow and require multiple attempts to fully get rid of the insects.
However, a good insecticide can end a pest problem in one attempt. Still, you may have to spray the affected plant more than once in some cases.
Insecticides are chemical products that are highly effective in terminating pests. They kill the adult insects as well as their eggs, completely eradicating the problem.
This quality makes them an ideal option in fighting thrips. You should be able to find your preferred insecticide in your local gardening stores or on Amazon.
Once you have it, strictly follow the use instructions on the packaging. Insecticides are generally toxic, so you will need to protect yourself while spraying your Monstera with one.
Wear a respirator and gloves to minimize the risk of poisoning.
When applying the chemical on your affected plant, ensure you cover all the surfaces, including the top and bottom of the leaves.
You may also want to do a spot test to see if the chemical reacts with your plat before going all in.
More importantly, ensure you isolate the plant before spraying it to avoid infecting or affecting other healthy indoor and outdoor plants.
3. Pick the thrips with a lint roller
A lint roller is a manual way of eradicating thrips, and experts recommend it for being highly effective.
Lint removers or rollers are rolls of one-sided adhesive papers on plastic or cardboard barrels mounted on central spindles.
While they are designed to remove lint, their adhesive quality makes them an effective way of picking thrips off a leaf surface. They act as bug traps, picking them and their eggs off a leaf surface.
To use a lint roller, grasp the affected leaf in your hand and gently roll the lint remover all over the leaf’s surface.
You will notice the winged insects sticking to the lint roller surface, so you can remove them more easily. Once the sticky surface is fully covered with the pests, you can dispose of it safely somewhere.
Since thrips bury their eggs inside the leaf tissue, this approach may not be effective against a severe thrips infestation involving eggs. You may have to use it alongside another method, such as a homemade insecticide.
Alternatively, you can use the lint roller repeatedly to catch the young thrips as soon as they are hatched.
4. Prune or trim away the damaged foliage
If your plant has some discolored leaves after removing the pests with any of the methods in this write-up, consider pruning the damaged leaves to restore the plant’s beauty.
Pruning can also be an effective way of removing the pests’ eggs and eradicating the infestation for good.
Simply cut away the damaged leaves and dispose of them somewhere safe to prevent a repeat infestation.
5. Lure the thrips with bug traps
Specific colors attract insects. For instance, thrips mostly love white, blue, and yellow colors. Therefore, you can target them with colorful bug traps and get them.
Once they are inside the traps, they will be stuck, keeping them away from your Monstera plants.
Bug traps are available for purchase at a grocery store near you. Alternatively, you can create a homemade bug trap using a sheet of colorful paper and a sticky substance such as glue or honey.
Apply the sticky substance to the colored paper and place it near the affected plant. You will need to change the traps from time to time to maintain efficiency. Here’s a more detailed guide on how to use fungus gnat yellow sticky trap.
6. Introduce natural thrip predators
Ladybugs are the best natural predators of thrips. Since they are harmless to you or your family, they are a perfect instrument against these pests.
You can buy ladybugs online and introduce them to your home. They are eye-catching and friendly and will be happy to feast on the pesky insects killing your Monstera plant.
You can also get green lacewings and release them to the soil around your Monstera plant. From there, they will find their way to other plants, getting rid of the pests infesting them.
7. Propagate a healthy part of the plant.
If the plant has sustained significant damage, you can find a healthy part and propagate it.
Identify a healthy part of the stem and cut it below the node, about two inches from the node.
Put it inside a jar full of water containing the rooting hormone. Be sure to keep the Monstera leaves out of the water.
Change the water with the rooting hormone every four days until new roots sprout. This should happen within two to three weeks so you can transplant the healthy young plant in a fresh potting mix.
What Are the Causes of Thrips on Monstera?
Thrips typically come from lawns with lots of soil debris or gardens with various weeds around them.
Both factors provide the insects with a suitable breeding ground and favorable conditions for growth.
Can Monstera Recover From Thrips?
Yes, Monstera can recover from Thrips infestation. However, the level of damage the plant has sustained will determine how quickly this recovery happens.
Your plant will recover faster if the damage is minimal, but the recovery will take longer in case of extensive damage.
Thrips Prevention Tips for Monstera Plants
While thrips infestation can be debilitating to your plant, you can take specific measures to prevent their infestation.
Here are some of the things you can do to ward off thrips and protect your Monstera from infestation.
- Maintain cleanliness around your yard to eliminate breeding grounds for thrips.
- Remove any weeds on the soil in your garden that can provide thrips with a welcoming environment, food, and shelter for thrips.
- Isolate thrips-infested plants as soon as you become aware of them. This is an excellent way of preventing the infestation from spreading.
- Thoroughly inspect all newly bought plants before adding them to your collection.
- Clean your plant’s leaves with neem oil regularly to ward off thrips infestation.
What do thrips look like on leaves?
Thrips look like tiny dark slivers on plant leaves. You may not see them clearly without magnifying glass because of the small sizes of their bodies. However, when you observe thrips closely, they appear more like lobsters.
What does thrip poop look like?
Thrips poop looks like tiny dark or black spots on the infested plant leaves. These black deposits that the insects leave behind are a common sign you can use to identify thrips infestation.
Do thrips jump?
Absolutely. Thrips walk, crawl, jump, and fly to their targets, thanks to their body structure, which includes wings and legs, enabling all these kinds of motion.
Where do thrips come from?
Thrips typically come from lawns with lots of soil debris or gardens with various weeds around them. These factors provide thrips with a suitable breeding ground and favorable conditions for growth.
Learn More: Mosaic Disease Monstera
In conclusion, if you want to get rid of thrips on your monstera, there are many approaches you can take.
Spraying with a neem oil solution is an effective way to combat an infestation, but it requires some vigilance and repeated applications.
A systemic insecticide drench can help protect the plant from further damage from thrips once applied.
Finally, allowing some companion plants to grow together can also help ward off potential pests like thrips.
Whatever plan of action you decide to take against thrips, it’s important to remember that prevention is better than cure.
Routinely checking on your monstera for signs of infestation and using preventative measures will go a long way towards protecting your indoor garden from any unwelcome guests.
Remember: being proactive in tackling pest problems will ultimately save time and give you peace of mind knowing that you don’t have to worry about how to get rid of thrips on monstera again!
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