I think I have thrips on my strawberries. It’s producing stunted strawberries with brown spots. The flowers are also getting damaged. They seem to come out more babe evenings.
I had this issue last year and sprayed the plant with a vinegar/soap/water mix and it ended up killing all the fruit and buds.
How do I prevent this in the future, what do I do to fix it, and is there any salvaging of affected fruit?
Thrips are very small narrow insects with feathery wings that suck sap from flowers (especially white) and leaves of many plants. Out in the garden, they have natural predators such as mites but if your infestation is large, there just may not be this natural control.
The best treatment is to remove any infested and damaged leaves, flowers and fruit from your plants. Dispose of this in the city curbside pick up program, do not place in your home composter if you have one.
Secondly, spray your entire plants with insecticidal soap, following the directions on the product container. Make sure you cover the entire leaf surfaces including the undersides and any new flower buds in order to get any hiding insects. Insecticidal soap can be purchased at most local nurseries and is safe to use on edibles. The treatment may have to be repeated several times depending on the insect life cycle and their abundance.
We do not recommend home remedies as these are not authorized for use in Ontario and could do more harm than good. Therefore, we encourage you to use a product listed as safe for home gardeners.
Also, placing a straw mulch around your strawberry plants is advised as this raises the flowering stalks off the soil surface, keeping the fruit clean, and helping control pest problems too.
Hope this information is helpful.