New research on invasive thrips pests in Dutch greenhouses

January 27, 2021

Invasive pests are a huge threat to the Dutch greenhouse horticulture. They are increasingly appearing in greenhouses, probably due to climate change and intensive international transport of plant materials. The general lack of knowledge about invasive pests often results in an increased pesticide use, which completely disrupts existing biological control programmes. Among these pests, invasive thrips species are the most notorious. Recently, many greenhouse crops were infested by two new invasive species: the Japanese flower thrips, Thrips setosus and the tobacco thrips, Thrips parvispinus. Both species are very polyphagous and cause considerable damage in vegetable and ornamental crops.

Greenhouse growers of orchids and Anthurium struggle already for years with the control of the exotic Vandatrips, Dichromothrips corbetti and the orchid thrips Chaetanaphothrips orchidii. Both species seem to increase in abundance and cause severe crop damage. Surprisingly, very little is known about the basic biology and behaviour of these new exotic thrips species. Such basic knowledge about biology and ecology is essential for developing effective control measures and resilient cropping systems.

This year, a new project will start with the aim to make this essential missing knowledge available and, based on that, design of resilient cropping systems against various invasive thrips species. In addition, a number of innovative non-chemical control measures and combinations of measures will be tested.

The project is a public-private partnership within the top sector Horticulture & Starting Materials and will run from 2021 to 2023. The private funding comes from the foundation “Kennis in je Kas" (KIJK), the pot orchid and Lilly growers cooperation and growers and breeders of Anthurium. The public funding has been made available by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. The growers organization “Glastuinbouw Nederland" is responsible the overall project coordination. All research is done by Wageningen University & Research, BU Greenhouse Horticulture.​