Alberta Barley

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Barley Thrips

Barley thrips are a pest that can be found in barley grown throughout Western Canada. Adult thrips are dark brown to black, and roughly two millimetres long, while the larvae are pale green to yellow and blend in with the plants. Female thrips overwinter in headlands and shelterbelts before emerging in late May to June to lay eggs inside terminal leaf sheaths. White heads indicate thrip feeding damage, which generally results in thinner, smaller kernels. Yield losses can also occur if thrip feeding is severe enough to kill the flag leaf.

Prevention/management tips:

  • Scout for thrips when heads are just starting to emerge, and before the crop is fully headed
  • Peeling back the sheath will reveal adult thrips on the developing head
  • Roughly divide the field into nine equal sections and take one stem at random from each section. If the total number of adult thrips from the stems is greater than 87, insecticide treatment is recommended

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