Thrips and tospovirus: a management guide

Pest species of thrips have become increasingly damaging in fruit, vegetable and ornamental crops throughout the world over the last decade or so. Reasons for this include the incursion of new species, the intensification of crop production and the capacity of thrips to rapidly develop resistance to insecticides.

The ability of several thrips pest species to transmit the tospoviruses or the tomato spotted-wilt group of plant viruses has seen a marked increase in the importance of these viruses in world agriculture, to the extent that tospoviruses are now among the most damaging of plant pathogens worldwide.

Australia has not escaped the effects of this formidable thrips-virus combination with, for example, western flower thrips and melon thrips causing serious losses in many crops in recent years and outbreaks of tomato spotted wilt and other tospoviruses causing major crop losses in several states.