Western flower thrips and tomato spotted wilt virus


Western flower thrips (WFT), Franklienella occidentalis is primarily a pest as a vector of tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) in tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes, and capsicum.

Its feeding can cause scarring and deformations on leaves and fruit, with seedlings and soft tissue particularly prone to feeding damage. Capsicums, cucumbers and beans are susceptible to fruit scarring.

WFT is more of a problem than other thrips species because it develops resistance to pesticides easily, hence there are few chemical options to control it.

WFT was first found in Western Australia in 1993 and has spread to all states and most production areas since. It originates from western USA.

This Primefact covers the following topics:

  • WFT description
  • WFT hosts
  • TSWV description
  • TSWV hosts
  • How do thrips acquire TSWV?
  • How do thrips transmit TSWV?
  • Management options


Primefact 713 Second Edition

Published: Jun 2011