Exploring the World of Trips: Pests that Affect Plants and Humans


Trips, the tiny insects that can cause significant damage to plants, including cannabis, can also be a nuisance to humans. They are capable of carrying diseases, and if left untreated, they can lead to allergies and cause other health concerns.

What are Trips?

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Trips are small, slender insects that belong to the order Thysanoptera. They have fringed wings, which they use for flying short distances. Adult thrips are about 1 to 2 mm in length, and they can be either black or yellow in color, depending on the species.

Life Cycle of Trips

  1. Egg Stage
  2. Their life cycle typically begins with eggs that are laid on the leaves. Females can lay up to 80 eggs at once, and the eggs hatch within a week.

  3. Larval Stage
  4. The larvae that hatch from the eggs are small and pale, with no wings. They feed on the sap of the plants and take about two weeks to mature.

  5. Pupa Stage
  6. After the larvae moult twice, they enter the pupal stage, where they rest for a few days before emerging as adults.

  7. Adult Stage
  8. Adult thrips emerge from the pupal stage with wings and begin to feed on the plants. They also continue to lay eggs, starting the entire process again.

Common Species of Trips

  • Western Flower Thrips
  • Onion Thrips
  • Florida Flower Thrips
  • Greenhouse Thrips
  • Tomato Thrips
What Do Trips Eat?

Thrips are sap-sucking insects that feed on the cells of the plant’s leaves, flowers, and stems. They can also feed on fruit, and some species can feed on mites and other insects.

How Do Trips Damage Plants?

As trips feed on the plant cells, they cause damage to the plant’s surface. This can lead to discoloration, as well as the leaves and flowers getting deformed and distorted. Severe infestations of trips can lead to the death of the plant.

How to Identify Trips Infestations?

Identifying thrips infestations can be challenging due to their small size, but there are some indicators that can help you recognize their presence. Some of the signs include:

  • Discolored or deformed leaves and flowers
  • Silver or brown streaks on the leaves
  • Black fecal deposits on the leaves
  • Drooping plants
  • Presence of adults, larvae, or eggs on the leaves

How to Control Trips Infestations?

There are several ways to control thrips infestations, including the following:

  1. Removing affected plants or parts of the plants to prevent spreading
  2. Introducing natural predators, such as ladybirds, mites, and lacewings, to the environment
  3. Using insecticidal soap or neem oil consistently on the plants
  4. Encouraging the growth of beneficial flowers and plants that attract predators
  5. Using yellow or blue sticky traps to catch and monitor trips

Effects of Trips on Cannabis Plants
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Trips can significantly affect the growth and development of cannabis plants, leading to reduced yields and stunted growth. Some of the effects of trips on cannabis plants include:

  • Reduced plant size and stunted growth
  • Discoloration and deformed leaves and flowers
  • Reduced yield due to damage to the flowers and buds
  • Increased susceptibility to other pests and diseases due to weakened plants
  • Contamination of the final product by the fecal matter and saliva of the trips
How to Prevent and Treat Trips in Cannabis Plants

The best way to prevent trips infestations in cannabis plants is to maintain a healthy growing environment and take necessary steps to prevent pests from entering. This includes using clean soil, keeping the grow area clean and well-maintained, and avoiding the use of contaminated equipment or materials.

If you already have a trips infestation, there are several methods of treatment that can be used to eliminate the pests. Some of the most effective treatments include:

  • Using insecticidal soap or neem oil on the plants
  • Introducing natural predators, such as ladybirds and mites
  • Using yellow or blue sticky traps to catch and monitor trips
  • Removing any affected plants or parts of the plants to prevent spreading
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About Trips Q: Are Trips Harmful to Humans?

A: While trips are not generally harmful to humans, they can carry diseases and may cause allergies in some people.

Q: Can Trips Affect Indoor Plants?

A: Yes, trips can affect indoor plants, and they can be particularly challenging to control in indoor environments as they can reproduce quickly.

Q: Can Trips Spread to Other Plants?

A: Yes, trips can easily spread to other plants if they are not contained or treated promptly.

Q: How Do I Monitor for Trips?

A: You can use yellow or blue sticky traps to monitor for trips. Place the traps around the plants, and the traps will catch the insects as they fly around.

Q: Can Trips Be Prevented?

A: Yes, trips can be prevented by maintaining a healthy growing environment, monitoring for pests regularly, and treating infestations promptly.

Q: How Long Do Trips Live?

A: The lifespan of trips varies depending on the species, but they can live for up to a month in optimal conditions.

Q: Can I Use Chemical Pesticides to Control Trips?

A: While chemical pesticides can be effective in controlling trips, they should be used with caution as they can harm beneficial insects and can be toxic to humans and pets.

Q: Can Thrips Survive Winter?

A: Some species of trips can survive winter, particularly in the larvae or pupal stage, but they are more prevalent during the warmer months.


Trips infestations can cause significant damage to plants and can lead to health concerns in humans. Regular monitoring and prompt treatment are essential in preventing and controlling infestations. While chemical pesticides can be effective in treating trips, natural methods of treatment should be considered first to avoid harming beneficial insects and prevent contamination of the final product.

By understanding the life cycle of trips and their effects on plants and humans, growers can take necessary steps to maintain a healthy growing environment and prevent infestations from occurring.