Chaetanaphothrips orchidii

Chaetanaphothrips orchidii Moulton

Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Hemimetabola, Thysanoptera, Terebrantia, Thripidae.

Common name: Orchid thrips, anthurium thrips.

Geographical distribution: Cosmopolitan, occurring outdoors in subtropical and tropical regions, restricted to glasshouses in temperate zones. In the Middle East since the early 1990s. CIE Map #502, 1988.

Morphology: The adult thrips is yellow, about 1 mm in length with dark-banded wings. The mature nymph is yellow-pink, about 1 mm long.

Host plants: Citrus, avocado, banana and many ornamentals, especially orchids and Anthurium.

Life History: This parthenogenetic pest places its eggs (50-140/female) in the leaf or fruit epidermis, on which the developing nymphs feed. They usually live within unopened leaves and flowers, or between touching fruits, remaining concealed throughout most of their lives. Upon maturation they “jump” to the soil wherein they complete their development and pupate. A life cycle requires about 5 weeks at 24ºC. The adults live for a similar period.

Economic importance: The feeding of C. orchidii on citrus and avocado fruits results in rust-like rings on red grapefruits or brown spots on avocadoes (especially of the variety Ettinger). Such fruits are rejected for export. The thrips also attacks orchids and bananas. Pest and damage are often located within clustered fruits, or they touch leaves and twigs. The bracts of Anthurium andreanum Lind do not open, its leaves may be deformed with bronzing and streaking, and growth is reduced.


Monitoring: Due to the fact that the pest is usually hidden in unopened buds and unfurled leaves, it may be difficult to detect. Susceptible flowers should be opened and examined manually.

Horticultural control: Removal of infested flowers and foliage from the field or greenhouse in order to eliminate sources of thrips. Removal of weeds and grass and any adjacent plants that may serve as alternate hosts or reservoirs for the pest.

Chemical control: Infestations on avocadoes may be controlled with spinosad combined with summer oils. Insecticide granules and foliar sprays of pyrethroids effectively reduced the rates of thrips‐injured anthurium flowers for 5 months In Hawaii.

Biological control: Two predatory thrips, Franklinothrips vespiformis (Crawford) and Franklinothrips orizabensis Johamsen were introduced into Israel, mass reared in the laboratory and released in citrus and avocado groves. Several predatory Coccinellidae feed on the thrips, but their numerical effect is not known.


Argov, Y. 2003. The orchid thrips in Israel. Proceedings of the International Society of Citriculture Congress, pp. 869-870.

Goane, L., Casmuz, A. Salas, H., Lizondo, M., Gastaminza, G. and Vera, M.T. 2013. Spatial and temporal variation in Chaetanaphothrips orchidii Moulton (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) population and its damage on lemon. Neotropical Entomology 42: 72-81.

Guershon, M., Friedberg, A., Gerling, D., Argov, Y. and Izhar, Y. 2002. Biology and biological control of the orchid thrips in avocado plantations. Alon Ha’Notea 56: 424-426 (In Hebrew).

Hata T. Y. and Hara A. H. 1992. Anthurium thrips, Chaetanaphothrips orchidii (Moulton): biology and insecticidal control on Hawaiian anthuriums. Tropical Pest Management 38: 230-233.

Izhar, Y.; Wysoki, M.; Ben Yehuda, S.; Kuslitzky, W.; Swirski, E., 1997: The orchid thrips, Chaetanaphothrips orchidii Moulton (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), a serious pest of avocado in Israel. Alon Hanotea 51: 200-204 (in Hebrew with an English abstract).


Yael Argov