Don’t Get Tripped Up On Thrips

by Ron Daniels


My whole idea on controlling insects is to do everything I can to prevent them from eating and damaging our roses and companion plants.

Just like using Fungicides as a preventative to black spot and being consistent about a spray program will help not to have to deal with black spot. If you don’t have a problem, you will not have to take extreme measures to cure it.

Let’s talk about thrips and their mission against our roses. They are a sucking pest and eat our stems, buds, flowers and leafs. There is no such thing as having a few thrips. One female thrip can have 60 to 200 eggs in her lifetime. They feed on plant fluids and they have a yellow, brown coloration and can be found in the buds and flowers and they like temperatures from 50 to 90 degrees. Well, we talked about the enemy so now let’s talk about how to control and identify the damage from them.


  • Brown streaks on petals and blooms (see pictures)
  • Spots on petals
  • Deformed rosebuds
  • Deformed flowers
  • New leaf curling

All of the above will cause buds to collapse and fall off.



  • Spray every 10 to 14 days, 4 tablespoons per gallon of water of Spinosad 0.5% (see picture for name of product) with Honorguard or Banner Max Funicide.
  • Add 2-3 drops of Dawn as a sticker
  • Every other time I will use Merit 75 instead of Spinosad
  • 1/8 teaspoon per gallon of water with Fungicides (see picture)
  • You can also use Conserve instead of Spinosad or Merit 75, but it is a little expensive
  • 1/3 teaspoon per gallon of water has Spinosad in it (see picture)

All in all, be proactive about preventing thrips from invading your roses and monitor rose bushes often. If you have an extreme thrip problem, cut off the damaged new growth, buds, and blooms and dispose. Spray every 7 days with Spinosad .05% until under control. This is an organic material, but spray early morning or late afternoon when bees are not active.

So, don’t get “tripped up,” be preventive and you won’t have to deal with an invasion of thrips.

Ron Daniels
ARS Master Consulting Rosarian
Co-President of the Nashville Rose Society
Rose and Gardening Speaker