Thrips vs aphids is an important element in gardening for all those serious about their houseplants’ health. Both are tiny pests that can only be detected through the symptoms they cause.

Thrips vs Aphids

This comparative guide will discuss how to tell the two pests and their respective infestations apart from each other. Continue reading to discover some key differences between these two pests.

Thrips vs Aphids

Features Thrips  Aphids
Shape Slender Oval or pear-shaped
Color Yellow or black Light-green or reddish
Winged Yes No
Feeds On Mainly small and thin leaves Roots, stem and all kinds of leaves
Common Names Thunderflies, thunder bugs, freckle bugs, corn fleas Greenfly, plant louse, ant cow

What Are The Differences Between Thrips and Aphids? 

The main difference between thrips and aphids is that aphids are slightly pear-shaped and light green or red. On the other hand, thrips are lean and slender and more yellow, brown, and black. Thrips are also winged and able to fly, whereas aphids are not. 

What Are The Key Characteristics of Thrips?

Key characteristics of thrips will enable you to spot them more quickly and help with controlling thrips on any plant. This guide includes help on how to identify them, learening how they feed and what to do if your plant is infested.

– Identifying Thrips

Thrips are very small and slender pests, barely measuring one-half to one-quarter of an inch in length. They have fringed wings on their bodies and can fly from one plant to the next, spreading the infestation further. 

Their color varies from yellow to brown to black but is not striking enough to make them easy to identify. Their wings sometimes give them a silvery appearance from afar and when they are flying.

They collect under the plant leaves and soon multiply in number to a large extent. If you shake the leaves of a plant infested by thrips, they will begin flying around it in large numbers. 

– Signs and Symptoms Of A Thrips Infestation

The appearance of silvery patches on the affected plant leaves is one characteristic sign of a thrips infestation. This also indicates the leaves under which most of these bugs are hiding.

Other symptoms that eventually occur are wilting, drooping, and yellowing of the leaves. The newer leaves will be deformed and smaller in size than average. 

Thrips Features

Thrips act as vectors for several plant viruses. This property, coupled with the fact that they can fly, makes them particularly dangerous. You risk exposing your other plants to infections unless you get rid of them.

– The Best Way To Get Rid of Thrips

The best way to get rid of thrips is to wash them off with water. Put the affected plant directly under running water so that these bugs will not be able to fly off. However, washing them off is not a permanent solution. It would be best if you supplemented washing the plant with some pesticide.

One way is to use a natural or chemical insecticide regularly. Natural ones can be easily made at home using various ingredients, such as mixing a dash of vinegar and water in a ratio of 20 to 80. When using the chemical pesticide, you must follow the instructions on the back of the label.

The second option is to take help from biological agents to control your thrips population. Ladybugs, beetles, and lacewings are beneficial insects that prey on thrips and will get rid of them for you. You can obtain these bugs from any nature store and place them in the container of the affected plant.

– Killing Thrips Using Neem Oil

Once you successfully identify thrips attacking your plant, the best remedy is neem oil. You can use this natural substance, which acts as a potent pesticide and a fungicide. Ask your seller to give you 100 percent authentic and natural oil.

Firstly, apply this oil to the affected plant’s leaves and stems. Use only a few drops to moisten a roll of cotton that you then use to wipe the whole plant. Some people find it more convenient to use a Q-tip instead of a cotton roll.  

The second option is to make a spray mixture that must be used every week for the next two months at least. This mixture contains just one tablespoon of oil in as much as one gallon of water. 

– Prevention

The first step to effective thrips prevention is to plant resistant varieties from the beginning. Then you can immediately introduce useful bugs like ladybugs into your soil’s ecosystem to ensure that thrips do not even get near the plant. Spread reflective mulch all over the surface of the soil to keep the thrips away.

Thrips, along with most other plant pests, like to make a home in plants that have poor air circulation and are damp and moist. If your plant is too bushy, you need to prune some leaves and stems off.

Make sure to fulfill the said plant’s light and water requirements properly. Plants that receive adequate light and are well-ventilated usually do not attack thrips like plants that are kept in a damp and dark environment.


What Are The Key Characteristics of Aphids?

The key characterics of aphids include what they look like and the signs of an infestation.

Once you spot the infestation don’t panic! Read on to find out what these are and how to deal with them like a professional.

– What Aphids Look Like

Aphids, also known as plant louse, greenfly, and ant louse, are the most common house pests in the world. These soft-bellied pests are extremely small, barely more than a pinhead large. 

Aphids Characteristics

They come in various colors depending on the type of aphids in question. Most commonly, the aphids you might encounter around your houseplants will be light-green, reddish, or grey. Sometimes, you might notice white fluffy types of orchids as well.

They like to attack houseplants and suck the sap flowing through them. Aphids are usually so small that they cannot even be seen with the naked eye. You might have to use a magnifying glass to see if your plant is under attack, or you can diagnose their infestation from signs and symptoms caused by aphids.

– Signs and Symptoms of An Aphid Infestation

Aphids can puncture all parts of your plant to suck their nutrition-rich sap. In the initial stages of the infestation, the affected plant does not show much distress. Eventually, the leaves begin to yellow, especially newer ones that are only just starting out.

In the long run, aphids retard the growth of the plant. Very few new leaves will emerge and be smaller than average. If the plant is flowering in nature, the quality and quantity of the yield will also be poor.

Aphids tend to secrete a sticky digestive juice called honeydew over the plant surface as they move about. This juice attracts mold to the surface, such as sooty mold. In that case, the leaves become covered completely with a grey-black layer of mold. This is more dangerous because fungal diseases can quickly destroy the whole plant within days.

– How To Get Rid Of Aphids

To get rid of aphids, you must manually pick them off the plant. The best way is to give the plant a thorough bath using an insecticidal soap mixed with water. Keep scrubbing the plant at the same time using a soft-bristled toothbrush.

After the plant has been washed and then dried, later on, you need to start a weekly regimen involving any pesticide of your choice. We suggest that plant owners go for natural homemade remedies and only resort to chemical options when these fail to work.

The thing with chemical pesticides is that they can be a bit harsh on your plant. You also need to take steps to protect yourself while using these chemicals. Wear gloves, long-sleeved shirts, and protective eyewear to keep them from getting into your eyes and skin. 

– Natural Remedies To Kill Aphids

We bet your pantry now contains all the important ingredients for effective pest control against aphids. Simply applying 70 percent isopropyl alcohol onto the infested plant using dipped cotton rolls or Q-tips will have very successful outcomes. 


Natural Remedies to Kill Aphids

Another DIY pesticide you can make is mixing 20 percent milk with 80 percent water. This mild but effective solution will need to be sprayed daily for at least two weeks.

Of course, as mentioned above, a neem foliar spray is just as effective against other common bugs such as aphids and spider mites for thrips. Apply it no more than once per week for the next eight weeks.

FAQ: Some Frequently Asked Questions

– Are Spider Mites Insects?

One major difference between thrips and mites is that these mites belong to the arachnid family and are technically not an insect. 

That is why we see spider webs woven all around the stems and leaves in case of a mites infestation. No such webs appear when the plant is under attack by thrips. 

It is also not possible for spider mites to fly as they do not possess wings like thrips. This property makes it easier to control a mite’s infestation because it cannot just fly away in defense.

– What Plants Do Thrips Not Like?

Thrips do not like to attack plants that emit a strong scent. The most famous include basil, garlic, oregano, rosemary, and scented Geraniums. 

We can say that all scented flowering plants, spices, and herbs are well protected from a thrip infestation.

Even among non-scented varieties of houseplants, you can ask your local nursery to provide you with a thrips-resistant variety. These are specially created plants that resist pests naturally.

– What Plants Do Spider Mites Not Like?

The plants they are mostly put off by are Chinese parsley, chrysanthemums, dill, garlic, leeks, lemongrass, peppermint, and rosemary.

– How Does Cinnamon Get Rid Of Thrips?

Yes, cinnamon is surprisingly very effective at getting rid of thrips. First of all, these bugs are highly deterred by the smell of this famous spice. Mixing a little bit of cinnamon with the top layers of the potting soil will generally keep the thrips away from such a plant.

If a plant is already suffering from an infestation, you can spray a little cinnamon directly on the leaves and under it. This will make these pests fly off right away. 

You also do not need to worry about cinnamon being harmful to the plant. It is a natural spice and does not harm your plant one bit. It might be a safer and much milder option than many commonly used chemical pesticides.


Today, we discussed the main differences between the two most common pests that attack houseplants. Thrips are naturally slender, yellow or black or brown, and mostly attack only the smaller leaves on any plant. They suck sap from the plant.

On the other hand, aphids can puncture and suck sap from any plant part, whether it is the stem, leaves, or flowers. The good news is that aphids are also much more straightforward to get rid of using a variety of integrated pest control measures.

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