Mar 30, 2022
Thrash Thrips to Preserve Pepper Quality

Corey Harmon’s farm includes strawberries (pictured) as well as peppers, broccoli, eggplant and peaches.

(Sponsored) When temperatures warm, Southeast vegetable producers know a thrips invasion is inevitable. 

“It’s our main pest in peppers,” says Corey Harmon with Titan Farms in Ridge Springs, South Carolina. “Thrips can cause misshapen fruit, rejected blooms and even rusting. Left unchecked, thrips are devastating to a crop’s marketability. You have no choice but to fight them.” 

A perennial pest in pepper production, thrips can vector tomato spotted wilt virus, has a wide host range and threatens produce marketability. 

“When that warm weather comes, the thrips are on our crops. It’s just the pattern,” Harmon says. 

As scouting reports reflect rising in-season thrips populations, insecticide spraying begins. The first treatment is usually in May. 

“Because April is still cool enough to avoid thrips, we usually see our thrips populations reach threshold levels in May. They push in on that first wave of warm air,” Harmon says. “When we see more than five thrips per plant, we should be spraying. You don’t want numbers to get higher than that.” 

Radiant® SC insecticide plays an important role in Harmon’s season-long thrips control plan. 

“When we get into the heat of the season and there are heavy populations, we spray Radiant insecticide plus Ecotec followed three to four days later by Lannate LV insecticide and Ecotec,” Harmon says. “The Ecotec disturbs the thrips and gets them moving. Radiant and Lannate then do the major damage to the thrips population.” 

Harmon repeats that rotation as needed and may mix a fungicide in the tank. After two to three weeks on this spray schedule, weather changes often result in decreased thrips populations. 

“Thrips will start to drop below threshold limits after a few weeks,” Harmon says. “Often, by then, we are past the point that they can do any damage to blooms.” 

Radiant sets the standard for insect control in vegetables by providing industry-leading control of thrips, armyworm, looper and leafminer. In university and independent trials throughout the United States, Radiant continues to outperform other insecticides on key pests. 

“Radiant and Lannate are the best tools for the job. That’s what we get as the recommendation from our scout and our retailer, and that’s our standard treatment,” Harmon says. 

Thrips pressure on Harmon’s pepper crop often echoes that of the area’s cotton crop. “We give each other a heads-up of when we are seeing pest increases,” he adds. 

To learn more about how Radiant® SC can help control thrips and other pests on your farm, visit 

™ ® Trademarks of Corteva Agriscience and its affiliated companies. Lannate® LV is a Restricted Use Pesticide. The EPA-registered label for Lannate LV contains the following statements: “This product is highly toxic to bees exposed to direct treatment on blooming crops or weeds. Do not apply this product or allow to drift to blooming crops or weeds if bees are foraging in (actively visiting) the treatment area.” Lannate LV is not registered for sale or use in all states. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your state. Always read and follow label directions. 

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