From flower thrips to gladiolus thrips to chili thrips, Florida is home to many of the pests, both native and invasive. The chilli thrip, in particular, has been causing trouble for central Florida LCOs, says Toby Gaudin, director of customer care at Heron Pest Control.
“Here in central Florida it has been one of the more persistent pests, and more destructive,” he says. “It’s very, very disruptive.” The company’s Orlando branch has seen a pretty big problem as has the southwest portion of their service area. “I will tell you that when problems are found on the property, it does take us a while to get rid of it – at least two applications.”
Thrips in particular are more prevalent during the hot, dry weather of the summer months. So far this year, Gaudin’s area has been getting fairly frequent rain, helping to curb the problem. “It’s been sporadic and when we do find major problems, it’s generally on brand new accounts that have not been maintained and they’re looking for service,” he says.
To check for thrips or any other insects in the landscape, Heron technicians simply take a white piece of paper and hold it out as they shake shrubs. If technicians do find thrips, the attack is a mixture of acephate and imidacloprid and a contact pyrethroid as well. “We put a whole cocktail of stuff in there but the one that’s going to work the best is imidacloprid because it has a lasting, systemic effect, as well as the acephate because even if you miss an area of the shrub, you’re probably going to get effective control anyway,” Gaudin says.
When Heron uses acephate for thrips or any other pest control, prepardness comes first. “With acephate in particular, you want to wear your protective gear in full,” Gaudin says. “That stuff smells bad and it’s an organic phosphate so that’s something that you’ve got to take seriously. Not so much in spraying, but obviously when you’re mixing.”
To keep his team prepared, Heron covers protective gear, proper mixing procedures and other measures about once every two months at training meetings.