Agricultural entomology: Thrips of the olive tree

Agricultural entomology: Thrips of the olive tree

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Classification and host plants

Class: Insects
Order: Tisanotteri
Suborder: Tubulifera
Family: Phleotripidae
Genus: Liothrips
Species: L. oleae (Costa)

Bibliographic reference:
Phytopathology, agricultural entomology and applied biology” – M.Ferrari, E.Marcon, A.Menta; School edagricole - RCS Libri spa

Host plants: Olive tree.

Identification and damage

The olive thrip is a common species in olive growing areas throughout the Mediterranean basin.
The adult (about 2.5-3 mm long) has a bright black body and fringed wings.
The nymphs are yellowish.
The damage occurs on shoots, leaves, flowers, fruits and is determined by the trophic stings of both adults and juvenile forms.
The affected shoots show stunted development.
The leaves deform and fall early; on the flowers the attack causes flower abortion and then leaking.
On fruits the attack facilitates detachment and therefore the drop; moreover it can cause deformations, sunken and dark spots on the drupes.
The stings also promote the penetration of pathogenic wound microorganisms.

Biological cycle

Liothrips oleae overwinters as an adult, in cracks or lesions of the bark; it also finds shelter in the body of parasitized Mealybugs or in the galleries of the Fleotribo (Scolitide).
Adults leave winter shelters in early spring; the females lay, in the cracks of the bark or between the leaves, up to 200 eggs, gathered in small groups.
After about a couple of weeks the nymphs emerge and immediately attack the most tender parts of the vegetation.
New adults appear in early summer and originate a new generation; followed by a 3rd generation whose adults, who appear in the autumn, are destined to winter.
The olive thrips therefore makes 3 generations per year.

Olive thrips - Liothrips oleae (It costs)

Damage caused by Olive's thrips - Liothrips oleae (Costa) (photo Francesco Sodi)

Olive thrips - Liothrips oleae (Costa) (photo Francesco Sodi)


The fight against olive tree thrips is chemical in nature; however, it is performed only in case of heavy infestations. Furthermore, some preventive agronomic practices are applied.
Normally the phytophagus is preyed / parasitized by several entomophages including:
- Anthocoris nemoralis, Rincote Antocoride;
- Tetrastichus gentilei, Hymenoptera Chalcidoid; these which is a parasitoid, assume an important role in the control of the phytophagus.

Agronomic struggle
The infestations can be contained, in part, with adequate prunings that tend to thin out the foliage, hindering the installation of the Tripide.
Furthermore, a control of the Fleotribo must be carried out, in whose tunnels the Tripida finds safe and easy winter shelter and a suitable place also for the oviposition.

Chemical fight
The chemical struggle, carried out only in the presence of strong infestations, is mainly carried out on the 1st generation.
The proposed intervention threshold is 10% of infested sprouts.

Video: Georgia Farmer Begins Olive Production (August 2022).