Scolothrips sexmaculatus (Pergande)
Black hunter thrips
Thrips are primarily phytophagous but a few species are predaceous. Two species, the sixspotted thrips (Scolothrips sexmaculatus) and the black hunter thrips (Aelothrips sp.) are found in tree fruit crops. They mainly prey on the eggs and young of spider mites and do not harm trees. Predatory thrips are rarely found in regularly sprayed orchards, but where soft pesticide control programs are used, they can become abundant and control spider mites. The adult of the sixspotted thrips is about 1/30 inch (0.8 mm) long (see Western flower thrips for general appearance). It is pale yellow with three brown spots on each forewing. The adult of the black hunter thrips is larger, about 1/15 inch (1.6 mm) long, and has a dark body and legs. The forewings of this species are clear with two dark cross-bands joined by a dark bar along the hind margins. Adults of both species can be counted along with other insects in beating tray samples.