This tiny insect can cause major leaf “tatter” and flower damage on sugar maples and orchard trees, by feeding and laying eggs on the young leaves and flowers as the buds open in spring.
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Pear thrips surfaced as a new pest of sugar maple, Acer saccharum Marsh., in 1979. Damage from this insect occurs intermittently, and threatens the long-term health of maple trees throughout the northeastern United States and parts of Canada. A method for sampling forest soil to determine pear thrips populations is described that is suitable for sugarmakers. This method requires a minimum of equipment and time, and provides sugarmakers with a reliable estimate of the number of thrips in their sugar_bushes. By sampling and assessing damage annually, sugarmakers will gain an understanding of the relationship between thrips population levels and damage in their stands. Based on this information, potential damage in the spring can be estimated. Sample results are obtained before tapping so sugarmakers can adjust their management practices, such as the number of taps per tree, to minimize stress on trees when damage is likely.