Chilli thrip causes closure of Royal Botanic gardens Kew palm house

Minute tropical beast, the chilli thrip, is forcing the closure of the giant palm house at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.

The invasion of chilli thrip, which can transmit a host of plant viruses, forced Kew to close the building every Tuesday afternoon until the beast is blitzed.

"There is currently no end date to the closure as this will depend on the success in eradicating the pest," said a spokeswoman.

"Chilli thrip, Scirtothrips dorsalis, is a tiny insect that can transmit plant viruses, some of which may have economic or environmental implications."

Treatment would include removing host plants, pruning out, cleaning infested areas and encouraging biocontrols across the house, careful feed and watering regimes.

She said Kew weighed up the possible impact of chemicals on non-target organisms, but the royal garden had a statutory duty to protect its plant collections.

"Chemicals are used as a last resort and, where possible, only products that specifically affect the target pest."

Chilli thrips attack vegetables as well as ornamental plants and have caused damage in south Asia, the Caribbean and north America.

"The pest was discovered in January 2008 during routine monitoring. We can't be sure where it originated; maybe on flowers used for events or tropical fruits."

She said the thrip was restricted to the palm house, but such a complex house and dense plant canopy made it hard to tackle.


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

Pest & Disease Factsheet - Peach leaf curl

Pest & Disease Factsheet - Peach leaf curl

Growers of fruit and ornamental trees need to be aware of this disfiguring disease.

Business planning - Demand management

Business planning - Demand management

Seasonal demand may be inevitable but peaks and troughs can be managed to minimise business impact, Neville Stein explains.



These heralds of spring are highly suited to being planted in tree circles, grass and rock gardens, says Miranda Kimberley.

Opinion... Get rid of plastics in Horticulture

Opinion... Get rid of plastics in Horticulture

Blue Planet II eloquently showed the rich tapestry of life in the oceans. It also focused public awareness on plastic pollution damaging wildlife.

Opinion... Gardening needs better promotion

Opinion... Gardening needs better promotion

British horticultural firms and organisations have not been the best at working together to promote our industry.

Opinion... A wish list for unblinkered thinking among our politicians

Opinion... A wish list for unblinkered thinking among our politicians

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

Horticulture Week Top 60 Ornamentals nurseries

See our exclusive ranking of ornamentals nurseries by annual turnover. 

Tim Edwards

Boningales Nursery chairman Tim Edwards on the business of ornamentals production

Read Tim Edwards

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

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world

Read more Peter Seabrook articles