Should you ever treat thrips in soybeans?

Thrips in soybeans discussed. Checklist pre-treatment.

I have had several folks asking if there is a time when thrips should be treated in soybeans.

Ordinarily thrips are not a problem in soybeans. Cotton and soybeans are completely different when it comes to how the plant can tolerate thrips. Soybeans are not nearly as sensitive to thrips as cotton and therefore can tolerate high numbers of thrips without yield loss.

Now for the big however: There are situations where I think a thrips spray in soybeans is completely justified and I have made the recommendation myself on several occasions over the years. But there are several conditions that have to come together for it to be justified economically.

  • The first is that the plants are already stressed by another factor.

This could be wet, dry, herbicide injury, cold weather, or whatever event that is stressing the crop in the absence of thrips.

  • Second, you see that the thrips are holding the plants back or stunting them, basically obvious injury from the thrips.
  • Third, there are numerous thrips present.

If you meet these criteria I would definitely consider a treatment but this will likely be only on small numbers of acres compared to the actual crop acres we plant. This year is likely going to be a big thrips year with all the wheat we have planted and based on already extremely high thrips numbers being reported in Louisiana and South Mississippi.

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