Caught on “film”

A few days ago I photographed the above flower buds. The tight little balls are too irresistible and cried out to be photographed. This is the Chinese Five chili plant. I love the colour of this plant, right from the start. The leaves and stem are purplish, as are the flowers. The peppers are an assortment of colours from purple, cream, yellow, orange, and red. It didn’t take long for the bud to open. I did notice it was flowering yesterday, but due to the rain I could not photograph. This is a photo from today, between rain showers. I can’t wait until the rainy days are behind us and the temperatures warm up again. 


A few days ago, I also noticed my Arbol plant looking a little gnarly.

I immediately turned over the leaves, but I couldn’t see anything. I went out at dusk, with a flashlight, but still nothing. This isn’t actually a new thing for me and my pepper plants. But I’ve been reminded of the culprit today, after I took a photo of a Doe Hill pepper blossom. 

Aw man, it’s thrips! I didn’t even notice them until I loaded up the photo on my computer. Of course, now when I run back out to look at all the Doe Hill blossoms, I see ALL the thrips. I did a quick spritz of rubbing alcohol.

Double Aw Man!! After I posted this, I noticed the thrips on the Chinese Five blossom too.

According to Plant Village:

If population is high leaves and buds may be distorted; leaves appear silvery and are speckled with black feces; insects will feed on and damage flowers; most damage occurs through the transmission of Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV); insect is small (1.5 mm) and slender and best viewed using a hand lens; adult thrips are pale yellow to light brown and the nymphs are smaller and lighter in color.
Insect transmits Tomato spotted wilt virus; once acquired, the insect retains the ability to transmit the virus for the remainder of its life. 
Avoid planting next to onions, garlic or cereals where very large numbers of thrips can build up; use reflective mulches early in growing season to deter thrips; apply appropriate insecticide if thrips become problematic.


Thrips suck juices out of leaves and emerging flowers, leaving them with a ‘rasped’ look. They do not generally kill plants, but make them look tired and unsightly. If they attack young emerging shoots then leaves may be crooked and misshapen (for more info, visit Ladybird Plant Care). In my experience, I have never fussed over thrips. I get them every year. I’ve seen them on pepper blossoms, and I’ve had misshapened leaves on my pepper plants. I’m a home gardener, growing for fun and not for competition, so the shape of the leaves don’t bother me. The peppers have never been damaged by thrips (knock on wood), so I usually do nothing about the thrips. I’ll just have to wait and see! Maybe I need to harvest my worm compost and throw some into the pepper containers. I’m not sure if the mites in the worm bins are Hypoaspis miles, but those are the ones that eat the thrips pupae that falls onto the soil.

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