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Scouting Tips for Onion Thrips in Onions

Christy Hoepting, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: July 1, 2023

To find the first thrips of the season, look deep into the leaf axils. Inspect 20 to 30 plants and count the total number of onion thrips (OT) per plant and divide by the average number of leaves per plant to get the number of OT per leaf. Thrips feeding causes silvery streaking along the leaves. If you can already see thrips feeding damage that is also a good indication that it is time to spray. If there is a lot of feeding damage, than you likely missed a timely first spray.

Close-up of the leaf axil of a 5-leaf onion plant that is spread open. Five tiny brown Adult onion thrips are the first thrips of the season. They are tiny brown, sliver-like insects up to 2 mm in length. Photo by C. Hoepting, CCE Cornell Vegetable Program


Close-up of onion leaf axil zooming in on about 30 tiny 0.5 to 1.2 mm in length light yellow slender thrips in a cluster.Onion thrips nymphs are yellow and 0.5 to 1.2 mm in length. Photo by Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University.
Side view of an onion plant. Pale green dashes from thrips feeding creates a streaked look to the leaves.Subtle streaking along leaves is an early indication of early onion thrips feedling. This plant has reached the spray threshold. Photo by C. Hoepting, CCE Cornell Vegetable Program




Scouting Tips for Onion Thrips in Onions (pdf; 239KB)

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May 23, 2024
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Come see 10 varieties of asparagus! The trial includes new releases, purple, frost avoidant, and expanded disease-resistant varieties. Compare the performance of asparagus planted from home-raised seedlings vs crowns. Participate in a weed control discussion and pick the brains of growers and industry reps!

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