Look out for Melon thrips by ewghwehws


									                    LOOK OUT FOR
Plant Pest Threat                 Melon thrips (Thrips palmi)

                                                           Melon thrips

                    General information

                    Melon thrips (Thrips palmi) is a pest of fruit and vegetables in South East
                    Asia, Japan, Florida and the Caribbean. It can stunt susceptible plants and
                    deform fruits when its normal biological control is disturbed. It was detected
                    in the Northern Territory in 1989 and in Queensland in 1993 and has since
                    been found in various parts of these states. Several states have restricted
                    imports of host produce from within 100km of outbreaks of the pest.

                    What does it look like?

                    Melon thrips are small (1.3mm long), cigar-shaped insects that can barely be
                    seen with the naked eye. The pest is pale green to orange and is mostly
                    found on the undersides of leaves. It can also occur on fruit and in
                    flowers. On cucurbits, the pest will mostly be found towards the tip of a
                    Melon thrips damage plants by killing surface cells with piercing and sucking
                    mouthparts. At low levels there may be no visible sign of damage. In high
                    numbers, it produces silvering, yellowing and bronzing of affected areas.

                    Leaves may crinkle and die, growing tips may become stunted, discoloured
                    and deformed and fruits may abort or develop scar tissue The overall effect is
                    a loss of plant vigour and a reduction in marketable produce. Infected leaves
                    become deformed and eventually shrivel. Severe infection can cause heavy
                    defoliation and stunt growth. Recurrent infections can lead to death of trees
                    or shrubs.
                                                                                    Supported by:
                                                      Which crops or plants
                                                      are most seriously
                                                      Melon thrips can affect a     Department of Primary Industries
                                                      variety of fruits,            and Fisheries
                                                      vegetables, ornamental
                                                      plants and weeds. It is
                                                      particularly damaging to
                                                                                    NEW SOUTH WALES
                                                      eggplant, capsicum, chilli,   NSW Department of Primary
                                                      rockmelon, cucumber,          Industries
                                                      squash, zucchini, and
                                                      French bean. Weed hosts
                                                      include pigweed,
                                                      amaranthus, gomphrena         AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL
                                                      and potato weed, as well      Environment ACT
     Melon thrips damage to eggfruit                  as a variety of cucurbit
                                                      and solanum family plants
                                                      such as the tall weed
Photographs                                           shrub, devil’s fig            VICTORIA
                                                      (Solanum torvum).             Department of Primary Industries
Courtesy of DPI&F Queensland

                                                                                    Department of Primary Industries,
                                                                                    Water and Environment

Although melon thrips are difficult to control, growers in the
Northern Territory and Queensland have successfully managed the                     SOUTH AUSTRALIA
pest through a variety of measures including use of plastic mulch                   Department of Primary Industries
                                                                                    and Resources, South Australia
(preferably silver), controlling weeds that are alternative hosts,
breaking production of susceptible crops and using windbreaks.
The over-use of insecticides has, in the past, increased the problem,
probably by killing natural enemies.                                                WESTERN AUSTRALIA
                                                                                    Department of Agriculture Western

                             Report suspect detections to
                               your local department of                             NORTHERN TERRITORY
                                                                                    Department of Primary Industry,
                            agriculture or primary industry,                        Fisheries and Mines
                                         call the

                                      EXOTIC PLANT PEST                             COMMONWEALTH
                                                                                    Australian Government
                                          HOTLINE                                   Department of Agriculture,
                                                                                    Fisheries and Forestry
                            1800 084 881                                            Australian Government
                                      For more information:                         Department of Environment
                                    www.farmbiosecurity.com.au/                     and Heritage

 Disclaimer: The material in this publication                                        Prepared by:
 was prepared from the most up-to-date
 information available at the time of
 publication. It is intended as a guide only                                         PIRSA Biosecurity –
 and the publisher accepts no responsibility
 for errors.                                                                         Plant Health

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