Thrips CAN fly.
Immature thrips have no wings and cannot fly, but by the time that they reach adulthood, they will have grown a pair of wings and gained the ability to fly. The wings of the adult thrips are very different from most winged-insects. Thrips wings have one long vein with several protruding hairs making it appear ‘fringe-like’.
Though thrips are winged and have the ability to fly, the distance that they are able to fly is relative to their size, which for some species can be as small as 1/32″. How then can thrips move such large distances in such a short amount of time? In these cases, they actually do not travel by flight alone but are carried by frontal wind systems.
“NCSU: ENT/ort-21 FLOWER THRIPS.” North Carolina Cooperative Extension: Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Nov. 2011.