What Are Thrips and How to Get Rid of Them?

Thrips are small, slender insects that can be a major nuisance for houseplant owners. They feed on the sap of plants, leaving behind unsightly damage and, in some cases, even can cause the death of the plant. Continue reading for more information on where they come from and how to get rid of thrips on your houseplants.

What are thrips?

Thrips are tiny insects that are about 1/16 inch long. They have slender bodies and two pairs of wings. Furthermore, thrips are found in many different colors, including black, brown, yellow, and white.

How do thrips get on houseplants?

Thrips can be introduced to houseplants in a number of ways, including:

  • Bringing new plants into your home that are already infested with thrips
  • Overwintering thrips in your home
  • Thrips being carried into your home on other objects, such as clothing or furniture

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What damage do thrips cause to houseplants?

Thrips feed on the sap of plants. This can cause a number of problems, including:

  • Wilting leaves
  • Stunted growth
  • Yellowing leaves
  • Brown spots on leaves
  • Deformed leaves
  • Death of the plant
Thrips on Houseplants

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How to get rid of thrips on houseplants

There are a number of ways to get rid of thrips on houseplants. Some of the most common methods include:

  • Physical removal: You can remove thrips from your plants by hand. This is most effective when the infestation is small. To do this, carefully inspect your plants for thrips. When you find them, use a cotton swab or a piece of paper towel to wipe them away.
  • Insecticidal soap: Insecticidal soap is a safe and effective way to kill thrips. To use insecticidal soap, simply mix it according to the directions on the label and spray it on your plants. Be sure to cover all of the leaves, including the undersides.
  • Neem oil: Neem oil is another natural insecticide that can be used to kill thrips. To use neem oil, simply mix it according to the directions on the label and spray it on your plants. Be sure to cover all of the leaves, including the undersides.
  • Systemic insecticides: Systemic insecticides are absorbed by the plant’s roots and circulate throughout the plant, killing thrips on contact. To use systemic insecticides, simply mix them according to the directions on the label and water them into the soil.
Houseplant spray

Homemade thrips spray recipe

You can also make a simple homemade spray to get rid of thrips. This spray is made from just a few ingredients that you most likely already have in your house.

Here is a homemade spray recipe that you can use to get rid of thrips on houseplants:


  • 1 gallon of water
  • 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap
  • 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol


  1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a spray bottle.
  2. Shake the spray bottle well to combine the ingredients.
  3. Spray the mixture directly on the thrips and the affected areas of the plant.
  4. Repeat the treatment every 3-4 days for two weeks.

This homemade spray is safe to use on most houseplants. However, it is always a good idea to test the spray on a small area of the plant before using it on the entire plant.

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Here are some tips for using the homemade spray:

  • Be sure to spray the undersides of the leaves as well as the tops.
  • Wear gloves and a mask when applying the spray.
  • Avoid spraying the leaves in direct sunlight.
  • Rinse the plant thoroughly with water after two weeks of treatment.

However, if the thrips infestation is severe, you may need to use a commercial insecticide. In such a case, be sure to read the label carefully and follow the directions before using any insecticide.

Preventing thrips infestations

The best way to prevent thrips infestations is to take steps to keep them away from your plants in the first place. Some of the best ways to do this include:

Thrips on houseplants
  • Inspect your plants regularly: Inspect your plants regularly for signs of thrips. This will help you to catch an infestation early, when it is easier to treat.
  • Isolate new plants: When you bring new plants into your home, isolate them from your other plants for at least two weeks. This will give you time to inspect the new plants for thrips and to treat any infestations that you find.
  • Keep your plants healthy: Healthy plants are less likely to be infested with thrips. Make sure that your plants are getting enough sunlight, water, and nutrients.
  • Avoid overwatering: Overwatering your plants can create a breeding ground for thrips. Make sure that you are watering your plants properly.

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By following these tips, you can help to keep your houseplants free of thrips.

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