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New Zealand Plant Protection 59 (2006): 69-74

Monitoring onion crops for onion thrips, Thrips tabaci

N.A. Martin, P.J. Workman and D. Hedderley


Onion thrips, Thrips tabaci (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), is the main insect pest on New Zealand onions. The onion industry recommends monitoring 50 or 100 plants in 10 or 20 groups of 5 plants and applying a cluster of insecticides when populations reach 0.1 thrips/plant. The robustness of these guidelines was tested by monitoring six crops before and after the first cluster of insecticides. Two people each recorded the numbers of adult and larval thrips in each crop on each occasion using the following strategies: (1) 100 randomly stratified plants, (2) 20 groups of five plants randomly selected from 1 m2 and (3) 20 groups of five adjacent plants, giving a total of 300 plants sampled. When sampling 100 plants, estimates of thrips/plant were similar for each of the three sampling strategies. However, to obtain a particular level of precision, fewer plants could be sampled using stratified randomly selected plants than groups of five plants.

Keywords: crop sampling, action thresholds, onion thrips, onions.

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