Monsteras are popular indoor plants loved for their unique characteristics and aesthetic value. However, these plants have their fair share of problems, including pest infestations. One of the most common pests a Monstera houseplant suffers from is thrips.
Here, we discuss everything you need to know about a thrip infestation and how to get rid of thrips on Monstera.
How To Get Rid Of Thrips on Monstera Plant?
While several pests can harm outdoor plants, Monstera are extremely susceptible to thrips. This is because Monstera growth conditions are similar to the ones required by these pests to survive, Monstera the perfect habitat for thrips.
Thrips can feed on the Monstera, sucking it dry of its nutrients and eventually killing the plant. However, dealing with thrips is a real nuisance. Not only are thrips highly adaptable and have a high survival rate, but they also spread to other plants faster than fire. Therefore, getting rid of thrips is nothing short of a war.
Fortunately, you can use several battle tactics and weapons to get rid of thrips on Monstera. To fully understand your approach to dealing with a thrips infestation on Monstera, you must have the appropriate knowledge about thrips.
What are Thrips?
Thrips, also called Thysanoptera or thunder flies, are small, winged insects that measure between 1.5 to three millimeters in length. While there are 6,000 different species of thrips that affect houseplants, the Monstera plant is susceptible to black or yellow thrips.
While they have wings, these bugs do not fly. Instead, they can lunge from destination to destination, spreading throughout your garden and the plants you own. Thrips feed on the Monstera, and the female lays eggs inside the plant tissue.
One of the reasons why thrips spread out so quickly is because they reproduce at an alarming rate. According to research, this is mainly because they experience parthenogenesis, the ability to reproduce without mating.
The Thrip Lifecycle
To understand how to deal with thrips on Monstera, you must understand the thrips life cycle. In contrast, the lifecycle can vary depending on the species, the pests that affect a Monstera plant experience similar life cycle characteristics.
Thrips are dormant in the winter, meaning they hibernate in plant waste. In spring, the adult female thrips lay eggs in the plant tissue of a Monstera’s leaves. After three to five days, the eggs hatch, and nymphs are released, continuously feeding on the plant for around three weeks.
After the feeding periods, the nymphs will rest for a couple of weeks, during which they will move on to the next life stage and shed their exoskeleton, a process known as molting. Once the molting is complete, the thrips become pupae, at which point they would often drop into the soil.
Once they grow into mature insects, the winged thrip will jump and leap onto the plant, continuing its life cycle. Mature thrips are easier to spot than pupae. However, thrips generally take over the healthy plant by that time.
Adult thrips can live for around a month, producing up to 15 generations yearly.
Ideal Conditions for Thrips
The Monstera plant is a perfect home for thrips. Since Monstera is tropical plants, they prefer warm and humid environments with little sunlight. Therefore, plant owners tend to do everything they can to replicate Monstera’s desired environment.
However, this environment is favored by the thrips as well. Thrips thrive in warm temperatures of 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit and can stay active in temperatures between 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Signs of Thrip Infestation on Monsteras
The swiss cheese plant is often weak to thrips, with little to no defense mechanisms. Therefore, you must act quickly to get rid of thrips.
There are several ways to identify thrips infestation on Monstera, either by thrips themselves or by the Monstera plant. Some of these signs used to locate thrips on Monstera include:
· The Monstera starts to lose its lushness and color
· There are often damaged areas on the Monstera
· There are rice-like structures on the plant or in the soil
· You notice other plants show similar damages
While the Monstera cannot deploy effective countermeasures against the infestation, it will let you know when it is in distress. Some of the signs of infestation that appear on Monstera are mentioned below.
Yellow and Brown Discoloration of Leaves
Yellowing or browning leaves are a clear sign of thrips. Since they feed on the Monstera leaves, these leaves start to lose their life and show a yellow or brown discoloration, eventually dying.
Black Spots on the Leaf
One of the major signs of thrip infestation is their excrement. Look for any black spots on the underside of the plant’s leaves.
Drooping and curling leaves are signs of stress that the Monstera plant shows when infested with pests.
Looking for Thrips
Thrips are tiny and thin, and they tend to jump away quickly. This makes it difficult to find them on your Monstera plant. Therefore, you can use a magnifying glass to look for thrips. You can also check the soil for pests.
Types of Thrips on Monstera Plants
While different thrips species can skitter around your garden and harm plants, Monstera plants most commonly suffer from the Western Flower Thrips and the Egyptian Flower Thrips.
Both species are winged insects and can puncture Monstera stems and leaves, and thrips suck the nutrition out of the Monstera’s phloem, the tissue responsible for transporting food.
Western Flower Thrips
These species are the most common types of thrips that feed on Monstera plants. They measure around two millimeters in length and appear pale yellow or brown. Moreover, these thrips are elongated and winged.
Egyptian Flower Thrips
These species are the second most common type of thrips that affect the Monstera plant. They are larger than the Western Flower Thrips, measuring around three millimeters in length, and appear darker in color, often brown or black. Moreover, these thrips are more curved than the Western Flower species but are also winged.
What Can Kill Thrips Infestation?
While thrips are the natural enemy of Monstera plants, there are several ways to deal with them. The methods to get rid of thrips include natural, DIY, chemical, and unconventional procedures to help keep your Monstera safe.
Thrips are the natural predators of household Monstera plants. As such, you can use the natural predators of thrips to your advantage.
These predators, such as the ladybird, will happily prey on thrips for you without damaging the Monstera. Moreover, natural selection has made them adept at finding and killing thrips.
Moreover, the ladybug can move on to other plants you own in search of pests such as thrips, helping you keep your plants safe. Similar beneficial insects include the green lacewings and the pirate bug.
Neem oil is one of the most common ways to keep your Monstera safe from pests. Neem oil acts as a natural pest resistant.
You can create a mixture of neem oil and water in a spray bottle. Spray your plant with the mixture to prevent pests from getting to the plant. However, neem oil can dry quickly. Therefore, it is best to apply it at regular intervals. To prevent quick drying, you can apply it when the temperature isn’t as hot.
You do not have to apply it in the winter, as thrips do not grow and infest the Monstera in the cold. However, you can still use it to keep other pests, such as spider mites, at bay.
You can also use sticky bug traps for your Monstera and other houseplants. You can use a white sticky trap. Thrips are also a sucker for colored traps.
Monstera thrips, like most pests, are attracted to bright colors. This is one of the reasons that they target the Monstera deliciosa, which is known for its bright green and silver leaves.
Therefore, you can use sticky traps to catch the pests in action. You can get these traps online or from a garden center and place them around the plant. You will wake up in the morning to notice that the colorful traps are covered with thrips crawling on them or trying to.
Another way to use sticky traps is to use a lint roller. Instead of luring thrips to come to you, you can go to them. Place the monstera leaf flat on a surface and run the lint roller across your Monstera leaves, getting both sides. Then, repeat the process with the stems and the roots.
Treating Monstera plants with insecticidal soap can help you kill thrips without damaging your Monstera plants. You can either use commercially available insecticidal soap or make your own insecticidal soap.
Most plant owners prefer DIY insecticidal soap because it can be made from everyday household items. You might need liquid soap and water. You can also create one from vinegar or baking soda.
You can continue to apply insecticidal soap to your Monstera until you do not see any more signs of a thrip infestation. Generally, it could take four to seven days to completely kill all thrips.
One of the last resorts to killing Thrips is sacrificing some of your Monstera. You can prune any affected parts of the Monstera before the infestation spreads.
Pruning can prevent the eggs from hatching and the thrips from maturing. Moreover, damaged leaves are a burden to the Monstera, as they take up nutrients without contributing to growth.
To prune your Monstera, use a pair of pruning scissors and sterilize it with alcohol or hot water. You should wear gardening gloves, so you do not come into contact with Monstera sap, an irritant.
First, use the methods mentioned above to treat thrips. Then, carefully use your shears to cut off the affected area. Discard all damaged parts properly to prevent the infestation from recurring. You can also spray neem oil on your Monstera after you are done to be sure.
If the infestation is severe and you would have to cut off too many parts of your Monstera for it to survive either way, the best action would be to start over. You can propagate new plants using the old ones and discard the infected plant.
To propagate the Monstera, gently cut off a part of a stem with a node. If there are new roots and leaves on the node, that would be best. However, you must ensure that the part is not infested.
Then, you can either propagate the Monstera in soil or water. Gently place the Monstera in your preferred medium, give it plenty of water, and keep it at 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If placed in the soil, ensure the node is placed in the soil.
Can My Monstera Recover From Thrips?
While different types of Monstera are susceptible to pests, it is also a strong plant species that tend to fight. However, the possibility of your prized Monstera plant recovering depends on how extensive the damage is.
If you detect the infestation early on, you can treat the Monstera when it has little damage. In that case, the Monstera plant can recover if you pay extra attention to its care.
If a portion of the plant, such as a vine that grew from the main stem, is completely taken over by thrips, it may be hard to recover. However, you can prevent further infestation by cutting the part off and treating your Monstera with pesticide.
You can also propagate to produce new plants by using the surviving leaves. This results in you getting a healthy young plant.
However, if the infestation has spread over the whole plant and severely damages a Monstera plant and you see several signs of dying, there might be little to no hope for the Monstera, and you will have to discard the entire plant.
Therefore, it is essential to detect the thrip infestation early on.
A third infestation is every Monstera owner’s worst nightmare, and you might start to panic. However, these tiny critters are nothing to worry about if caught early on. There are several things you can do to save your Monstera. Therefore, keep an eye out for the signs in spring and summer to keep your Monstera safe from any pests.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do thrips like the Monstera Plant?
Thrips, like most pests, feed on plants and suck nutrients directly from the plant. Monstera is a great source of food and shelter for thrips, as it prefers the same living conditions as the pest. Monstera leaves give these pests huge space to lay their eggs.
2. How Do I Prevent Thrips Infestation on my Monstera?
There are several preventative measures for pest infestation on Monstera. You can use neem oil or pesticides to prevent pests from getting to your Monstera. If a plant is infested, separate it from the rest to prevent them from spreading.
3. What Other Problems Affect Monstera
You must be careful of several other types of problems to keep your lovely plant healthy. These include other pests such as mealy bugs and diseases such as fungus gnats and root rot.
My name is Daniel Elrod, and I have been houseplant love ever since I was 17. I love how much joy they bring to any room in the home. I’ve always been amazed at how a few pots of flowing leaves can turn a drab and sterile office into an inviting place where people love to work at.