Family Phlaeothripidae

Haplothrips tritici (Kurdjumov) Wheat thrips

This thrips is associated with grasses and cereals, especially wheat. On bread-making wheats, direct feeding on the ovaries leads to considerable distortion of developing grain, some of which may abort; infestations may have an adverse effect on yield and can also lower the baking quality of the harvested grain. On hard wheats, infestations often lead to considerable discoloration of the grain. Although an important pest in continental Europe, this thrips is not found in the British Isles.


Adults appear in the early spring and later fly into wheat fields. Females eventually crawl into the sheaths of wheat plants to deposit eggs in the developing ears. The eggs hatch about 10 days later. Nymphs then feed for 3-4 weeks, each passing through two instars. At first, the nymphs feed within the developing flowers but, later, they attack the outer surface of the developing grain. When fully grown, usually in early July, the nymphs emerge from the ears and drop to the ground. They then burrow into the soil to aestivate, typically at a depth of about 30cm. In early October, the nymphs reappear and then overwinter under dry grass and straw. Pupation occurs from mid-March onwards. There is just one generation annually.


Adult 1.5 mm long and mainly black; antennae black and 8-segmented; abdomen with last segment tube-like (see Fig. 47b). Egg 0.3mm long, elliptical and translucent. Nymph mainly bright red; head, antennae, legs and tip of abdomen black.

Haplothrips aculeatus (F.)

This widely distributed thrips occurs on various kinds of Poaceae and related families (e.g. Juncaceae). In continental Europe (but not in the British Isles, where it is uncommon), it is a potentially important pest of grasses and occurs in considerable numbers on all the main cultivated species.

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