Correct and timely bell injection is critical for the control of flower thrips. It must be performed when the bell is upright to ensure the insecticide solution provides protection to the entire bunch. Flower thrips are from the same family as Banana rust thrips (Chaetanaphothrips signipennis). Unlike banana rust thrips, flower thrips spend their entire life cycle on the banana plant, therefore, soil treatment does not provide control of flower thrips.
Flower thrips cause damage to the peel of banana fruit from feeding and ovipositing (egg laying). These ovipositions resemble minute raised pimples on the young immature skin. These are readily seen because of a dark raised centre and can be confirmed by lightly touching the raised area with your fingertip. These oviposition marks almost disappear as the fruit matures. However, extensive damage from feeding from adult flower thrips can cause superficial scarring known as ‘corky scab’. This damage is usually confined to the lower hands (as flower thrips damage increases on lower hands as populations increase as they move down the bunch if it hasn’t been treated). Usually it is first noticeable on the outer whirl, where the neck meets the cushion, but can extend to the outer curve of the fruit.