The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) has declared that rose growers around the State are getting ‘hot under the collar’ trying to protect their plants from the garden pest, chilli thrips.
The Department said it had been “inundated” with reports of the pest from the metropolitan area over the past few weeks, with Acting Deputy Chief Plant Biosecurity Officer, Darryl Hardie – aka Dr Bug-a-lugs – confirming the damage to samples as being caused by the chilli thrips and not a viral threat.
“The recent rainfall and humidity has created conditions that are conducive to chilli thrips, which like to feed on the sugars in new shoots,” Dr Hardie said.
“Chilli thrips have moved down from the north of the State to the south in recent years and have been very active during the past few weeks in Perth gardens.”
He said the chilli thrips can be controlled via a range of products registered to treat other species of thrips and urged gardeners to inspect their plants for damage symptoms and take immediate action to minimise the pest’s impact.
“Once you see damage to your plants it’s almost too late to take preventative measures so gardeners need to act when thrips first arrive,” Dr Hardie said.
He said chilli thrips were tiny and difficult to distinguish from other thrips species with the naked eye.
“The pest is about two millimetres long, pale or translucent in colour with an elongated body,” he said.
Dr Hardie said more information and advice on how best to control thrips on ornamental plants was available from local garden centres.