Onion thrips (Thysanoptera: Thripidae): a global pest of increasing concern in onion

J Econ Entomol. 2011 Feb;104(1):1-13. doi: 10.1603/ec10269.


During the past two decades, onion thrips, Thrips tabaci Lindeman (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), has become a global pest of increasing concern in commercial onion (Allium cepa L.), because of its development of resistance to insecticides, ability to transmit plant pathogens, and frequency of producing more generations at high temperatures. T. tabaci feeds directly on leaves, causing blotches and premature senescence as well as distorted and undersized bulbs. T. tabaci can cause yield loss > 50% but can be even more problematic when it transmits Iris yellow spot virus (family Bunyaviridae, genus Tospovirus, IYSV). IYSV was identified in 1981 in Brazil and has spread to many important onion-producing regions of the world, including several U.S. states. IYSV symptoms include straw-colored, dry, tan, spindle- or diamond-shaped lesions on the leaves and scapes of onion plants and can cause yield loss up to 100%. Here, we review the biology and ecology of T. tabaci and discuss current management strategies based on chemical, biological, and cultural control as well as host resistance. Future directions for research in integrated pest management are examined and discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Insect Control*
  • Insecta / anatomy & histology
  • Insecta / physiology*
  • Onions / parasitology*
  • Reproduction
  • Seasons