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Citrus Pests


South African bean thrips


Scientific name


Scirtothrips aurantii (Thysanoptera: Thripidae)

Other common names


South African citrus thrips

Similar species


other species of Scirtothrips



United States: not known to occur.

Worldwide: Africa, Australia, and Yemen.

Native to Africa and Yemen.

Diagnostic characteristics

  • Yellow body, small brown area medially.
  • Bottom of abdominal segments covered with minute hairs.
  • Females measure 0.6 - 0.9 mm (0.02 - 0.04 in.) in length.
  • Males are similar in appearance but somewhat smaller.
  • Head is wider than long.
  • Two larval instars, pre-pupa (3rd instar), and pupa (4th instar).
  • Light orangeish-yellow to white body.
  • Body surface is rough and grainy.
  • Larvae resemble adults, but wingless.
  • 0.2 mm (0.008 in.).
  • Elongate, bean-shaped.


Citrus hosts

All Citrus species and their hybrids, but particularly destructive to sweet orange, Citrus sinensis.

Non-citrus hosts

Diverse host range including over 50 species from a wide range of plant families. Hosts include both weeds and economically-important crops. A partial list includes:

  • Acacia spp.
  • Asparagus spp.
  • banana, Musa spp.
  • bean, Phaseolus vulgaris
  • cashew, Anacardium occidentale
  • cassava, Manihot esculenta
  • castor oil plant, Ricinus communis
  • cotton, Gossypium spp.
  • grape, Vitis spp.
  • mango, Mangifera indica
  • peanut, Arachis hypogaea
  • pepper, Capsicum spp.
  • tea, Camellia sinensis

Host damage

  • Feeding punctures young fruit leaving characteristic ring of grey scarring on the rind.
  • Damages young leaves resulting in leaf distortion.
  • Silvering on leaf surface.
  • Brown frass markings.



Eggs are deposited within young growing leaves, stems, or fruit. Females are capable of laying up to 250 eggs. Eggs deposited in the fall can overwinter. First and second instars feed on leaves and young fruit. The feeding on young fruit results in cosmetic scarring of the rind. Third and fourth instars are quiescent "pupal" phases that do not feed and may leave the plant to develop in the litter or soil. Breeding is continuous, so there are many generations possible annually.



(EPPO) European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. 2005. Diagnostics: Scirtothrips aurantii, Scirtothrips citri, Scirtothrips dorsalis. Bulletin 35: 353–356. (

(EPPO) European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. 2009. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. (

(CABI) Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International. 2012. Invasive species compendium (beta).(

Hoddle, M.S., L.A. Mound, and D. Pena. Thrips of California. CBIT Publishing, Queensland. (



Weeks, J.A., A.C. Hodges, and N.C. Leppla


Citrus Pests
Content last updated June, 2012