The Q&A Archives: Controlling Thrips on African Violet

Question: I had a bug on my African violet that live in the pollen area of the flower. It eats and withers the flowers. Sometimes I see them on the leaves. I have been told they are thrips. They are white and do not fly and are very small. I have tried several types of insecticide to no avail. I eventually threw the plant out. Please help. Laura Buro Hopatcong, NJ

Answer: Throwing the plant out was probably a good idea, especially if you have lots of other African violets in the house. You can control thrips by spraying horticultural oil or insecticidal soap on the plants. You need to be diligent, because they will hatch over a several week period. Also, always check the plant's response to a spray by test spraying a leaf or flower first, waiting a one or two and then seeing if there is any damage. Also, grow African violets with darker colored flowers. Thrips tend to like white and yellow flowered plants.

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