Insect Management for Onions, Leek, and Garlic

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Sweet varieties of bulbing onions, which make bulbs under short day conditions and do not store well, are by far the most common onions grown in Florida. They are generally grown on small acreages in the winter for local and farmers markets. In Hillsborough County and in the Suwannee Valley, strawberry growers are the major producers of onions, many of which are harvested green.
Because it is grown in the winter and early spring, the onion crop in Florida suffers from relatively few insect pests, with thrips and seedcorn maggot being the most commonly found. Armyworms and cutworms can occasionally damage seedlings. Cultural controls, such as growing thrips-tolerant varieties and preparing seedbeds early, should be used and insecticides avoided as much as possible to limit the development of insecticide resistance and favor the survival of insect predators and parasites.

S. E. Webb
University of Florida, IFAS Extension