Help – I think I’ve got thrips!

I decided to try to be thrifty earlier this year and grow some cosmos from seed instead of buying from the nursery. At first they looked to be doing quite well, if a bit stunted. Then I checked them one morning to find one was just a cut off stalk – I blamed snails and sprayed with my eco friendly snail deterrent.

Then as the flower buds started to open I noticed the petals were either missing or very ragged round the edges. There was no sign of snails. Having donned my specs I caught sight of minute flying insects scurrying about on the soil. This meant war! I Googled and decided these were thrips. I rarely use insecticide but having read about these beasties I decided there was no alternative if I wanted to save my plants.

Insecticide instructions are very suspect –  “spray between 7-9 am and 6-8pm when bees are less active”. Bees do not conform to these time-frames. I took my seedlings into the garage to spray them and left them there for 24 hours before allowing them anywhere near the bees. They look a bit better and some almost complete flowers are in evidence. The still don’t look anywhere near as robust as the ones I bought from the nursery last year though …

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