Seasonal abundance and distribution of thrips palmi karny (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) in Southern Florida

Dakshina R. Seal


Seasonal patterns of Thrips palmi Karny populations were observed on two major crops, potato, (Solanum tuberosum L.) and eggplant, (Solanum melongena L.), during the 1991-92 and 1992-93 vegetable growing seasons. In different plantings of potatoes, T. palmi population densities initially were low, but increased as the season progressed. The population density decreased as the plants senesced. 7. palmi populations in Thai' eggplants  were smaller in Jan. than in other months when additional vegetable crops were available as host plants. Population densities peaked in May and declined during the remainder of the growing season. In 'Dusky' egg plants, the T. palmi infestation began on the older, lower plant leaves but moved upward to the middle and top of the plant. Populations of this thrips were significantly more abundant on the abaxial surface of the leaves than on the adaxial surface, irrespective of location of a leaf on plants in the field; but the reverse was observed in the greenhouse. Thrips infestations were initiated at the edges of eggplant fields and moved progressively inwards with time. This information contributes to our understanding of when and where damaging populations may occur. Further, this information may enable growers to sample their crops for T. palmi infestations reliably. Additionally, if the onset of an economic infestation can be detected in a localized part of the field, then a site-specific management program can be implemented.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283