Western flower thrips (WFT) are probably the most important insect pests for the cut flower industry. They cause economic loss to chrysanthemum, gerbera, anthurium, dahlia, rose and other flower crops.It is widely recognised that the control of WFT is difficult due to the pest’s high reproductive rate, resistance to many insecticides and tendency to inhabit protected areas of the plant, such as the growing tip. These challenges call for a non-chemical method of sustainable and reliable control.
Research is being conducted on WFT biology and biological control on chrysanthemums, gerberas and roses at Redlands Research Facility in Cleveland. The project is due for completion in June 2012. Initially, pupation behaviour and the effect of irrigation and plant phenology on pest survival were investigated. Now, testing is being carried out with commercially available biological control agents, particularly those that are relatively new to Australia. 

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