In Florida, Chilli thrips, Scirtothrips dorsalis (Hood), is a recently introduced important pest of fruits, ornamentals and vegetables. In 2003, the chilli thrips was found for the first time in the Western Hemisphere, established on St. Lucia and St. Vincent in the insular Caribbean. It attacks a wide range of crops belonging to more than 120 taxa within 40 families of plants. It attacks all above-ground parts of its host plants. Chilli thrips has been reported to be a vector of various viral and bacterial diseases, including peanut bud necrosis virus, chlorotic fan spot virus of peanuts, and tobacco streak virus in groundnut. Since there is paucity of information on flight pattern and relationship between temperature and abundance of chilli thrips, we evaluated horizontal and vertical distribution of chilli thrips in greenhouse and field conditions in a multiple crop system. Diurnal flight patterns of chilli thrips were determined on each host (pepper, peanut and cotton) at four different heights (1.5 ft, 3.0 ft, 4.5 ft, 6.0 ft), under greenhouse conditions. Cotton was observed as the preferred host of chilli thrips among the three hosts studied; their number was maximum at the least height (1.5 ft) and their abundance on host plants was found to decline in number with increase in height (6 ft). Horizontal distribution of chilli thrips was studied in field conditions on pepper as host. Knowledge of diel flight pattern is an important factor in developing a sound management program of S. dorsalis.


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