Cucumeris is the preferred predator for thrips control. They are tan colored mites found on the underside of leaves along the viens or inside mature flowers.These mites are most effective at preventing thrips build-up when applied early in the growing season at the first sign of thrips.
NATURAL CONTROL OF THRIPS
The life cycle of Cucumeris begins with small white eggs that can be seen attached to leaf hairs along veins on the lower leaf surface. At 68 degrees F eggs hatch in about 3 days into nonfeeding larvae that molt to nymphs after about 2 days. The 2 nymphal stages which last 7 days, as well as the adult stage which lasts up to 30 days feed on immature stages of thrips. The adult female can lay up to 35 eggs in her lifetime. Adults can eat an average of 1 thrips per day and also feed on two-spotted mites and their eggs.
Establishment of Cucumeris requires 3-4 weeks, so they should be applied before thrip problems develop. Because cucumeris feed on immature thrip stages a decrease in adult thrip populations will not occur for about 3 weeks.