The house and garden are infested! I feel like we are living in the Amazon and not rural Germany. After the last storm we have had swarms of thrips crawling the walls of the house. The garden is covered with aphids and the spiders are so full they can hardly move. I can’t go outside without walking into a silky spiderweb. No Toto – we are not in Norway anymore.
This wild kingdom we have found ourselves in includes: aphids, fleas, ants, water bugs, golf ball to pinhead size spiders, biting flies, mosquitoes, brown flies, black flies, bumble bees, wasps, fireflies, hornets, dragonflies, bullfrogs, salamanders, field mice, rats, hedgehogs, bats, chickadees, sparrows, blackbirds, crows, magpies, mallards, forest pigeons, as well as, the occasionally falcon.
My senses tell me there are other domesticated animals nearby like pigs, chickens and cows and even though I am a city girl I can handle all this. But the thrips are going to be the end of me. They are everywhere. They have infested my cat’s sinuses, they are crawling in my computer screen and turned my white drapes black. They are everywhere! Thunderbugs as they are also called blew into the house after the last storm and decided to stay. As far as I can decipher from a search on Google they are not dangerous but very irritating to skin and sinuses as they crawl in your eyes and wiggle around in your nose. Atchoo!
Which makes me long for the arctic winds of a Norwegian summer, keeping all of nature in tow.
Update: April 29, 2012
After two years of living in the jungle house as we call it, I did learn some tricks and I see that I consistently get hits on this page so I will let you in on my tips to living with thrips. I am not a fan of chemicals but we did have a Kammerjäger (bug guy) come to the house to see if he could do something and he sorrowfully just shook his head. He did say that thrips and ants have a symbiotic relationship so if you can remove some of the ants you can reduce the number of thrips.
So we approached in from several angles.
Chemical: We plugged in 5 or 6 of the plug- in fly and mosquito repellent devices. We bought those ugly repellent stickers you put on your windows, they are slightly better looking than fly paper and really do take care of flies. We sprayed for ants every week and placed ant traps in the areas we had seen ants.
Household Hygiene: I used our Karcher steam cleaner to go over any areas where I had seen thrips and therefore were likely to be eggs. The year I wrote this original post it was very humid and the life cycle of “our” Thrips were about three days. So, I was steaming daily and washing the sheets and living room curtains every other day. Last year, it was dryer and I had a little more than a week before the new ones came out. I mixed up a spray of distilled water, lavender oil and tea tree oil and sprayed it around the windows and entrances. Do not use the spray in the kitchen or get in eyes or mouth as tea tree oil is poisonous if ingested.
Personal hygiene and nutritional: I started taking garlic supplements which repelled spiders, flies and mosquitoes. I don’t like to use repellents on the skin because they smell so strong so I added lavender oil and tea tree oil to my body lotion and tea tree oil in my hair conditioner. I never had a thrip crawl in my hair again after using the tea tree oil and I could actually sleep at night. Men should be aware that the use of lavender and tea tree oil can increase breast size. Nice for the ladies but kinda sucky for a 12-year-old boy.
These measures kept the thrips off us by not out of the house. We had two computer screens destroyed by thrips crawling towards the heat and light and cutting up the crystals in the display. So, put your computers away during an infestation, some insurance companies may cover replacement but 500 euros for a new screen on an old laptop is a crappy way to spend your cash. Best to just put them away or use them in a room where you don’t have any thrips.
I have read that they are also attracted to light-colored clothing but I think maybe you just can see them on a white blouse and not one a dark blue one but try it, if nothing else works. Good luck and I would love to hear from anyone with ideas about this problem.