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Pest Information

Cuban Laurel Thrips

Cuban Laurel Thrips

  • Latin Name: Gynaikothrips ficorum
  • Common Name: Cuban Laurel Thrips
  • Other Names: N/A

Pest Details

Cuban Laurel Thrips
Cuban Laurel Thrips
Cuban Laurel Thrips
Cuban Laurel Thrips


The genus of these thrips originated in Oriental regions but this species is now found throughout the world in tropical countries. It is found in the Caribbean and in the U.S. in Florida, Texas, California, and Hawaii.


Species of Ficus are the most preferred host plants, but this species also attacks orchids, citrus, eucalyptus, viburnum, and other foliage plants. . Feeding is heaviest on the underside of the leaves, leading to distorted foliage, discoloration, and ultimately yellowing and loss of the leaf. While host plants are rarely killed the damage causes a serious loss of aesthetic value. Males are rare or even unknown and reproduction is by parthenogenesis. The larva and adult both feed by piercing the plant surface and ingesting plant fluids. They also may “bite” people when they are on the skin.


Foliage where thrips are feeding will have tiny dark globules of fluid over them, a substance given off by the insects that serves to deter predators. Adults are extremely small and yellow to black in color, with pale wings that are held straight back over the abdomen while at rest, giving the insect the appearance of only a thin line. Under high magnification the 4 wings can be seen to have only a narrow wing with long hairs extending off both the front and the bottom margins.

Characteristicts Important to Control:

Very few natural controls exist for thrips, and this leads to a difficult reliance on insecticides. Some species of thrips are actually predatory and feed on other thrips and mites, so proper identification is helpful in deciding whether or not to apply an insecticide. Because the eggs are inserted into the plant tissue they may be protected from topical sprays. Treatments include insecticide soap, insecticidal oils, and contact or systemic insecticides, but these often are minimally effective due to the insect feeding on the underside of the foliage, their numbers and mobility, and tiny size. Sprays should concentrate on the undersides of the leaves and repeat applications may be expected.

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