Development of a control strategy for thrips attacking nectarine trees depends on an understanding of their phenology, distribution, and life history as related to characteristics of nectarine orchards. To this end, we compared the overwintering behavior, distribution, and abundance of western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande), among 11 nectarine orchards located in the dry central interior of British Columbia, Canada, during 1993 and 1994. Western flower thrips emerged from areas not previously used for agriculture (wild areas) and from within orchards before trees were out of dormancy. Flight of thrips within and around orchards peaked during early bud development, with a second major peak several weeks later after husk fall as the next generation emerged. Orchards protected from wild areas by other orchards had the lowest densities of thrips in buds. Density estimates of western flower thrips on trees were not affected by location of trees within orchards or buds within trees, but most thrips were found in the most developed buds on a tree at any one time. Thrips were not found within buds until petal was first visible on the buds. Larval feeding on buds at early petal fall resulted in serious surface russetting of fruit.
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Vol. 93 • No. 2