Corn School: Taking the bite out of thrips


A hot, dry early summer encouraged some rarely seen insects to set up shop in corn fields in 2018.

Steph Kowalski, agronomy lead for the Agromart Group in eastern Canada, admits she was surprised by the number of reports of thrips in corn crops in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces this year.

Thrips are generally considered a major pest of greenhouse crops in Ontario. The adult and larval stages feed by piercing the plant surface with their mouthparts and sucking out the contents of plant cells. This causes white or brown spots on the leaves where the plant cells have been destroyed. These spots are also speckled with dark fecal droppings from the thrips.

Thrips were also detected in Ontario soybean fields in 2018.

The insect, however, is seldom found at significant levels in field crops, such as corn. In this episode of RealAgriculture’s Corn School, Kowalski discusses how high levels of thrips were detected this summer in Bruce County, Ontario. She notes that economic thresholds for thrips in corn have not been established because the pest so rarely invades corn fields at high levels.

In this summer’s case, high populations of the pest required action. In the video below, Kowalski offers tips on when to scout, how to identify thrips damage, and reviews insecticide control options.

Click here for more Corn School episodes.

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Corn School (view all)Season 7 (2018) Episode 3

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