Distribution of Western Flower Thrips Trapped on a Yellow Cylinder

David Ben-Yakir*, Robert W.H.M. van Tol, Marcella Bovio, Gal Ribak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Western flower thrips (WFT), Frankliniella occidentalis, is an important pest of many crops worldwide and a vector of viral pathogens. Studying the orientation and approach of flying WFT toward attractive targets can enhance the efficacy of monitoring this pest. Monitoring WFT in open fields using attractive colored traps mounted on a wind vane indicated that most trapped thrips were on the leeward of the traps. In this study, we determined the distribution of trapped WFT on cylindrical yellow traps under controlled conditions in a wind tunnel (24 ± 1 °C, 70 ± 4% RH, airflow speeds 0.19 m sec− 1). In each replicate, we released 150–250 WFT females, either upwind or downwind of the cylindrical yellow sticky trap. Each replicate lasted six hours. Overall, 79%±14 of the released WFT females flew actively and 59%±15 of those that flew were trapped. The vast majority of the thrips were trapped on leeward of the cylindrical yellow traps. Of the WFT females released downwind of the trap, 93%±3 (N = 6) were trapped on the leeward, while of those released upwind of the trap, 81%±8 (N = 7) were trapped on the leeward. A behavioral-biomechanical model simulating WFT flight towards the attractive yellow cylinders predicted that, as long as airflow speed is below the WFT flight speed, 71–84% of the WFT will be trapped on the leeward. The results of this study agree with the trapping distributions of WFT recorded in field studies. The results also suggest that, when airflow speed is below the WFT flight speed, most WFT approach visually attractive traps by actively flying upwind.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Insect Behavior
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Airflow direction
  • Cylindrical sticky trap
  • Thrips flight
  • Western flower thrips
  • Wind tunnel


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