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Citrus Pests


Greenhouse thrips


Scientific name


Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis (Thysanoptera: Thripidae)

Similar species


poinsettia thrips, Echinothrips americanus



United States: Florida and California; also in greenhouses and interiorscapes throughout the United States.

Worldwide: Africa, Austria, Brazil, Central America, England, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Palestine, and the West Indies; also in greenhouses and interiorscapes in other countries.

Thought to be native to South America.

Diagnostic characteristics

  • 1.3 - 1.7 mm (0.05 - 0.07 in.) in length.
  • Blackish-brown body with lighter posterior abdominal segments and white legs.
  • Abdomen golden in newly emerged adults.
  • Four translucent wings with numerous fringes surrounding each wing, folded back over the thorax and abdomen when at rest.
  • Antennae have eight segments.
  • Two larval instars, pre-pupa (3rd instar), and pupa (4th instar).
  • Mature larvae approximately 1 mm (0.04 in.) in length.
  • Whitish larval stage with red eyes; turn yellowish in color with maturity but retain red eyes.
  • Pre-pupa and pupa are whitish to slightly yellow.
  • Larvae resemble adults, but wingless.
  • The larval abdomen is up-turned and has a dot of excrement on it. The excrement can cause spotting on the leaves.
  • White.
  • Elongate and banana-shaped.


Citrus hosts

All Citrus species and their hybrids.

Non-citrus hosts

A partial list includes:

  • Acacia spp.
  • avocado, Persea americana
  • azalea, Rhododhendron spp.
  • Begonia spp.
  • cacao, Theobroma cacao
  • coffee, Coffea spp.
  • Cyclamen spp.
  • Dahlia spp.
  • Easter lily, Lilium longiflorum
  • Ficus spp.
  • grape, Vitis spp.
  • guava, Psidium guajava
  • Hibiscus spp.
  • Magnolia spp.
  • mango, Mangifera indica
  • oak, Quercus spp.
  • orchid, multiple genera
  • Philodendron spp.
  • Phlox spp.
  • Pinus ssp.
  • Pistacia spp.
  • tea, Camellia sinensis
  • Viburnum spp.

Host damage

  • Rind spotting or russetting on both immature and clustered mature fruit can also occur on fruit in which a stem is in direct contact with a fruit.
  • Mottled from feeding damage, causing discoloration between lateral veins.
  • Undersides of leaves have black spots of larval fecal material.
  • Heavily damaged leaves turn yellow and drop.
  • Infests older leaves, rarely colonizes soft or young leaves.



All life stages of greenhouse thrips are spent on the host plant. Greenhouse thrips can reproduce asexually. Eggs are laid singly and inserted into leaf or fruit tissue. The tip of the egg can usually be seen using a hand lens. Greenhouse thrips prefer high humidity and shaded areas of the plant. They infest older, mature foliage. The life cycle is 21 days. Temperatures below 0°C (32°F) or above 37.7°C (100°F) can cause significant mortality.



Thrips can be difficult to identify, and often a compound microscope is required. If unusual damage or new hosts are infested by thrips, a sample should be sent to a local extension agent or state diagnostic laboratory.



Australian Government - Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry: Sub-committee on Plant Health Diagnostic Standards. 2009. National diagnostic protocol for poinsettia thrips, Echinothrips americanus. (

Denmark, H.A. 2008. Featured creatures fact sheet: greenhouse thrips, Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis (Bouché) (Insecta: Thysanoptera: Thripidae). EENY-075. University of Florida. (

Denmark, H.A., and T.R. Fasulo. 2008. Greenhouse thrips, Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis (Bouché). EENY-075. University of Florida. (

Diffie, S., G.B. Edwards, and L.A. Mound. 2008. Thysanoptera of southeastern U.S.A.: A checklist for Florida and Georgia. Zootaxa 1787: 45-62. (

Flint, M.L. (ed.). 2008. How to manage pests, U. C. Pest management guidelines: greenhouse thrips (



Martin, K.W., J.A. Weeks, A.C. Hodges, and N.C. Leppla


Citrus Pests
Content last updated June, 2012