Chilli Thrips On Roses

Chilli Thrips is a pest that has been spreading across the southern US.  The damage it does to roses is appalling, but fruit and vegetable crops are also threatened.
Do I get rid of my roses that I love so much? 
I'm thinking very hard about doing so. 
This terrible pest also attacks a horrifying variety of other plants, including Raphiolepis, Viburnum, Shefflera, Trachelospermum, Podocarpus, Pittosporum, and Citrus.

Comments

  1. so that's why my gold-leaved shefflera got so ugly...

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  2. HB, I face this annoying pest every year in my rose garden, all I do is pruning.Chilli thrips strike in summer when heat is at its worst, I prune them and by the time they produce new flowers, in early fall, the chilli thirps are gone. They are not active in humid, cooler weather. I've noticed that red and dark roses are never affected but white and yellow roses are their usual victims.

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    1. Yep, the summer here also. In October the roses are beautiful again. But right now, very bad. Sorry to hear you have that pest also.

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  3. Is getting rid of your roses the only answer? Or are there resistant cultivars? It would be so sad if all the roses disappeared!

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    1. No, there's things to try. I'm also though long term thinking of the water bill. One day, the state will ban outdoor irrigation.

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  4. Oh, NO! Not again. I thought we'd conquered them. Now I'll have to go outside and check. And cut back severely. What next? We've had heat, fire, earthquake (a recent 4.4 felt here), wind, drought. How about deluge?

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    1. No like summer! :^( With the warming of the ocean (record sea water warmth recorded in SD, something like 81F, hurricanes coming farther north. That would bring a deluge for sure.

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  5. Spinosad (derived from a soil fungus) will deal with chili thrips - at The Huntington, we recommend Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew, which you can find at nurseries and the big box home improvement stores, but there are other products, I'm sure, whose primary active ingredient is spinosad. You do have to be diligent with applying it. There are natural antagonists, like pirate bugs and a type of nematode, but these take a while to get established in large enough populations to control the thrip. Renee, there are rose varieties that don't seem to be as attractive to the chili thrip. I don't think we've taken a census of them at The Huntington, but it sounds like a worthwhile thing to do.

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    1. Yes I used Spinosad last year and it was reasonably effective. The problem is "diligent in applying it" to disrupt the life cycle of the buggers. There were too many days when it was still 90F at sunset. Miss a spray and the population quickly exploded. I'm sensitive to that heat and just could not get myself out there to spray at those temperatures. Perhaps I'll try at dawn next year.

      Five petal roses damaged, 150 petal roses damaged, and everything in between. Of all colors.

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    2. I wonder if Just Waiting Them Out is a possibility--a private garden can do it where the Huntington with thousands of visitors cannot. I had terrible rose slug damage to the foliage for a few years, did nothing about it, and the predators moved in and now I barely get any damage at all.

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  6. I heard of those somewhere else recently. No roses, though I just might. Good thing we have a predator for everything in the new neighborhood, so those are probably covered, too.

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  7. I hate reading about these new pests, it seems like they keep coming one after another. We're facing the spotted lanternfly right now and so far the lanternfly is winning.

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    1. That one sounds even more horrible. The photos of it--yikes!

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  8. Well, that is one crappy pest. Not up here ...yet. I would hate to give up my roses and would tend to use extreme pruning-which I have to do every couple of years to control rose curculio.

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    1. I've been thinking that since the pest is active in summer, how can I do a summer dormancy for the roses instead of the usual brief winter one? Prune on the 4th of July and limit water until Sept 15th? Would they shut down?

      There was a professional citrus guy who lived across from my Mom & Dad, and he'd prune his roses on the first of August every year. Hmm...

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  9. I'm sorry to hear they're back, HB. I hope there are some alternatives you can try before throwing in the towel. I know how you love your roses.

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    1. Yeah, something...they and lavender are my aromatherapy.

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  10. It sounds similar to my battles with spider mites on tomatoes, right down to the part where they would infect other plants. Sadly, I decided not to grow tomatoes, though everyone's pretty pictures this time of year break my heart a little bit. Sorry for your roses. I hope you come up with an alternative to eliminating them.

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    1. I've rather given up on tomatoes lately myself, though due to rodents stealing the fruit instead of spider mites.

      It's always something!

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  11. kittymoonbeam here,
    Mine look just the same right now. The shorter days seem to have brought on new canes and a growth spurt right when the thrip populations are high. Pruning without spraying will expose all new tender growth to extreme damage. The thrips got all my beautiful rouge royale while PJPII and honor produced some decent yet small flowers...go figure. I have not cut a single plant. They all have hips and are sitting still except for new canes which I spray w capt. Jacks. The roses that did not set hips grew some new growth and that was disfigured. But I will eventually prune for an Oct flush and spray at that time. I did not spray my plants until the canes began to push out recently. The thrips are everywhere and will blow in on the wind. No one can create a thrip free zone as they multiply too rapidly. As long as you have good canes with buds from spring growth, I believe that fall should be a good time to get roses. I have written off roses in summer and mulch heavily, do not prune and cut
    back on water. This limits the growth and damage. One wild stand of Charles Lawson gets not one drop of irrigation. How is this rose alive? It stops all growth after spring and I never see any thrip damage on it. It truly is heartbreaking to see what these thrills have done. I view my roses as a cool season treat now. If any predators are building up, they aren't keeping pace with the thrills. I have been spraying as little as possible to give them a chance. Since I stopped spraying all summer two years ago, the lizard population exploded. Hoover, I hope you see some better flowers later in the year. Dormant oil in Jan seemed to help but this year I may not prune hard and instead go for more flowers through that cool period. If I do that, I may not spray the oil, it depends on the weather. If they ban outdoor irrigation, I'm moving.

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    1. Hey kittymoonbeam! Nice to hear from you!

      Like you I stopped dead-heading when the damage began. Unfortunately the roses kept growing despite. I'm also thinking they should just take the summer off--trying to figure out how to work that. Sounds like you are handling the situation as well as it can be handled right now.

      I don't know how not-irrigating would work. Even the toughest plants look awful without a summer soak or two.

      The OC Register just had a pearl-clutching, sky-is-falling article "An Entire Generation Is Leaving California!" Like..that is bad?!? It's overcrowded as it is.

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