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Pear thrips

Taeniothrips inconsequens (Uzel)
Thysanoptera: Thripidae

Adult is slender and brown, with short antennae and a swelling behind the head; the wings are long and narrow, with fringes of long hairs (A). Young pear thrips are small and white with red eyes.

Distribution

NY and New England south to MD.

Damage

Attacks pear, apple and all deciduous fruit trees. Adults enter the bud or start feeding on the bud tip, and gradually work themselves in. Eggs are laid under the bud scales, petals and sepals, on stems and in other succulent flower and leaf parts. The larvae feed voraciously for about 3 weeks, adding to the damage already caused by the adults. Feeding is usually concentrated on flower parts, which gives the blossom buds a shriveled, scorched appearance, or causes them to fall off completely (B).

Management

Because much of this insect's life is spent underground, control of damaging populations is very difficult. An oil spray is advised against the egg-laying adults as they emerge, timed between the bud burst and green cluster stages of pear and plum.

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