|Thrips on flowers of pointleaf manzanita|
Thrips are very small insects (often no larger than 2 mm), many species of which feed on plant leaves and flowers. In addition to causing physical damage, this can also transfer plant viruses. It is not surprising, therefore, that thrips are often looked upon as pests when found in agricultural settings.This bad rap has often stood in the way of recognizing the potential benefits these insects may provide in nature, such as pollination services. In this paper we describe research that examined whether thrips might contribute to reproductive success of pointleaf manzanita plants.