From Academic Kids
Thrips (Thysanoptera) are tiny, slender insects with fringed wings (thus the scientific name, from the Greek thysanos (fringe) + pteron (wing)). Other common names include Thunderflies or Thunder bugs. Thrips species feed on a large variety of sources both plant and animal by puncturing them and sucking up the contents. A large number of thrips species are considered pests, because they feed on plants with commercial value. Some species of thrips feed on other insects or mites and are considered beneficial, while some feed on fungal spores or pollen.
Thrips are generally tiny (1 mm long or less) and are not good flyers - though they can be carried long distances by the wind. In the right conditions many species can explode in population and swarm everywhere, making them an irritant to humans.
The word Thrips is used in both the singular and plural tenses (as in sheep). So while there may be many thrips there can also be a solitary thrips. The word thrips is from the Greek, meaning Wood Louse. (Ref: Kirk, W. D. J. (1996). Thrips. Naturalists’ Handbooks 25. The Richmond Publishing Co. Ltd.).
- University of California Pest Management Guidelines for Thrips (http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7429.html)