Science Into Practice - Tackling thrips on strawberries

Western flower thrips (WFTs) have become an increasingly important pest of strawberries in recent years and everbearing varieties have been particularly badly affected, resulting in serious financial losses.

The HDC is part funding Defra Horticulture LINK Project HL01107 (SF 120) to develop a comprehensive range of new effective methods for managing western flower thrips on protected strawberries in the UK.

A number of key findings have been made to date. Before flowering, WFTs can be most effectively monitored using blue sticky traps with a pheromone lure with the bottom of the trap (landscape orientation) about 10cm above the top of the crop.

From flowering, the number of adult thrips per medium age flower taken from the top of the plant can be used to estimate populations, and a sampling programme is being developed to identify accurate damage thresholds.

Overwintering results in significantly higher populations of WFTs in second-year crops than those found in first-year crops.

A WFTs emergence prediction model was developed early in the project and pest development data is now being incorporated into the model.

Experiments have also been assessing the potential of using the predators Orius laevigatus and Neoseiulus cucumeris as predators of WFTs in strawberry.

The use of blue sticky roller traps along the tunnel legs (30cm wide, 100m long, Optiroll, Russell IPM) can significantly reduce thrip numbers and fruit damage.

Horticultural Development Company

For details on all HDC activity, visit

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Can UK fresh produce come out of Brexit ahead?

Can UK fresh produce come out of Brexit ahead?

UK production horticulture can become more profitable under one possible Brexit scenario, while other more drastic scenarios will lead to only minor losses in profitability, in contrast to other farming sectors, according to a new report by levy body AHDB with Agra CEAS Consulting.

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

An effective strategy to retain staff is the best way for any business to avoid a potential recruitment crisis, Neville Stein advises.

How should agri-tech research for fresh produce function in a post-Brexit UK?

How should agri-tech research for fresh produce function in a post-Brexit UK?

One area affected by the uncertainty around Brexit will be the ongoing development of agricultural technology, seen by many as essential to retain Britain's productivity and competitiveness in fresh produce along with other farming sectors.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon