You Can Feel Them, But Can't See Them, So What Are They? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/11/08

You Can Feel Them, But Can't See Them, So What Are They?

Have you ever been outside and been attacked by something but you can't see it? you look down, swat at it, even smack your skin but there's nothing there. Well those little bugs might just be something called a Thrips. Not a Thrip - but a Thrips.

What is a Thrips you ask?

"The Thrips are almost like an invisible little pest," says Texas Tech Entomologist Harlan Thorvilson and he knows all about these little guys.

"It's part of summer, if you're outdoors you're going to be bothered by all kinds of little creatures, and Thrips periodically get to be very numerous and therefore can be a pest," said Thorvilson.

And the professor says they're really not trying to be a nuisance, they're just looking for a nice juicy plant!

"They have what we call rasping sucking mouthparts, meaning that they'll kind of rip at the surface of a plant leaf or stem and as the liquid oozes to the surface they'll suck it up into their body," Thorvilson said.

And when they taste our skin, they just move along but not before the bite. But don't worry, unlike tics and other biting bugs Thrips mean no harm. "

"The Thrips as far as we know carry no animal diseases, even though they may carry diseases to plants because of their activity and their feeding. We have no evidence at all that they vector diseases to humans," Said Professor Thorvilson.

And yes, you can ward off the little bugs. Use a bug repellant with Deet in it and they'll, for the most part, stay away.

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