According to the South Florida Pest and Disease Hotline, vegetable producers in West central Florida report that chili thrips are wreaking havoc in pepper and watermelon fields.
Thrips are causing serious damage to watermelons and peppers in the Plant City area of Hillsborough County. It’s been a carry-over effect in most cases. Thrips have moved over from the strawberry crops that were established in the fall.
Some conventional pepper farmers have nearly 100% chili thrips. Organic farmers have a mix of flower thrips and chili thrips. Watermelons are impacted by a mixture of chili thrips, flower thrips and melon thrips.
Thrips feeding causes distortion and death of new foliage and some scarring on the pepper fruit and watermelon rinds.
Click here for thrips management options.