Ficus can be a host for thrips. Most species of Ficus are largely or entirely immune to infestations, but when the thrips become abundant, they will feed on certain non-host plant species. The life cycle of thrips take about 30 days. Adults migrate to terminal leaves and establish folded-leaf galls within 2 to 3 days of infestation. Mating, egg laying, and a complete generation develop within a single gall. Adults exit galls within a few days of emergence, and migrate to new terminal leaves, either on the same or different terminal stem, to begin a new generation.
The adult varies from about 2.6 mm to 3.6 mm in length and is dark yellowish-brown to black. With the exception of the legs and last abdominal segment, dorsal striations are shown on the adult. Breeding is continuous. Although the adult moves or flies rapidly when disturbed, it remains on or close to the leaves most of the time. They are also active flyers on hot days.
Adult thrips use their sucking mouth parts to feed on the tender, light-green leaves, causing sunken purplish-red spots. Feeding results in a specific, directed growth reaction that causes the leaf to roll, or the leaf may fold along the midrib. The curled leaf becomes tough as it yellows, sometimes dropping during rainy or windy weather. Leaves eventually drop from the plant prematurely. Infested trees will not be killed, but the ornamental value of the plant is reduced markedly. The thrips rarely are annoying but occasionally may bite people.