A Review of Thrips Species Biting Man Including Records in Florida and Georgia Between 1986-1997

  • Carl C. Childers
  • Ramona J. Beshear
  • Galen Frantz
  • Marlon Nelms


Two species of thrips (Frankliniella tritici and Limothrips cerealium) were reported biting people in Georgia during 1986 and 1990. Frankliniella bispinosa was the only thrips species documented biting people in Florida between 1986 and 1997. This species occurs in great abundance throughout Florida and is a recognized plant pest on numerous crops. Because of the tremendous numbers of F. bispinosa that are produced on dozens of different cultivated and weed host plants during the spring months, this species can become a serious nuisance problem. Frankliniella bispinosa will bite people and produce variable reactions from slight irritation to formation of a rash with associated intense itching that can last for several days. The problem usually is seasonal and associated with maximum seasonal increase in F. bispinosa populations and favorable environmental conditions that can occur anytime between February and April in central and south Florida. Colored sticky-trap tests in Florida demonstrated the strong attraction of both white and blue colors to F. bispinosa. People wearing white or blue colored clothing tend to be more at risk of being bitten by this thrips pest.

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