Only larval thrips that acquire Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV), or adults derived from such larvae, transmit the virus. Nonviruliferous adults can ingest virus particles while feeding on TSWV-infected plants, but such adult thrips have not been shown to transmit TSWV. Immunofluorescence microscopy was used to show that thrips 1, 5, 10, and 20 days after adult emergence (DAE) fed on TSWV-infected plants acquired TSWV with virus replication and accumulation occurring in both epithelial and muscle cells of Frankliniella fusca (tobacco thrips [TT]) and F. occidentalis (western flower thrips [WFT]), as indicated by immunodetection of the nonstructural (NSs) protein encoded by the small RNA and the nucleocapsid (N) protein, respectively. Adult WFT acquired TSWV more efficiently than TT. There was no significant effect of insect age on TSWV acquisition by TT. In contrast, acquisition by adult WFT at 1 and 5 DAE was higher than acquisition at 10 and 20 DAE. Subsequent transmission competence of adult cohorts was studied by vector transmission assays. All adult thrips tested that had an acquisition access period as an adult were unable to transmit the virus. These results indicate the susceptibility of adult TT and WFT to infection of midgut cells by TSWV and subsequent virus replication and confirm earlier studies that adult thrips that feed on virus-infected plants do not transmit the virus. The role of a tissue barrier in TSWV movement and infection from midgut muscle cells to the salivary glands is discussed.