Pest Of The Month: Whitefly

Pest Of The Month: Whitefly

The sweet potato whitefly, B biotype, also known as the silver-leaf whitefly, may be a tiny insect with a yellow body and white wings, but it sure can pack a punch to a variety of vegetable crops. Making matters worse, it has the ability to transmit viruses.

According to John Palumbo, a professor and Extension specialist at the University of Arizona, in the Southwest and California, melons are its preferred host followed closely by Brassica crops. To a lesser extent, leafy vegetables also can become a target of the whitefly. Melons, in particular, have been impacted by adult populations because adults have the ability to vector Cucurbit Yellows Stunting Disorder Virus (CYSDV). Infected plants typically show yellowing and leaves roll upward, which can lead to economic loss. Whiteflies also vector geminivirus that can cause severe reduction in yields.

Life Cycle Of The Pest

Adults are usually present in fields soon after plants emerge, says Palumbo. Eggs are laid on the undersides of young leaves almost immediately, and nymphs hatch in three to four days. When a grower sees masses of adults on the undersides of terminal leaves, this is the first sign that he has a big problem, he adds.

“This would soon be followed by the presence of nymphs, and much later the presence of honeydew,” explains Palumbo. “At that point, you’re generally too late to prevent economic damage.”

Honeydew, the substance excreted by nymphs after they have removed plant juices, accumulates on the crops and serves as a medium for the growth of a black, sooty mold. “The honeydew and sooty mold contaminate the marketable portion of vegetable crops and essentially render them unmarketable,” says Palumbo.

Management And Control Strategies

Control as early in the season as possible is critical. With the increased insensitivity to products such as imidacloprid, Palumbo encourages growers to include cultural practices into their management programs that will reduce the numbers of whiteflies in their area.

“This would include careful attention to proper crop management and scheduling, and most importantly, sanitation practices including the timely destruction of harvested plant residue,” he says.

In addition, several products are available to growers that provide control of whiteflies. Palumbo says alternative neonicotinoids provide efficacy of both adults and nymphs either via systemic soil applications with products such as Venom (dinotefuran, Valent U.S.A. Corp.) Scorpion (dinotefuran, Gowan Co.), or Platinum (thiamethoxam, Syngenta Crop Protection); or through foliar application with translaminar activity with Venom, Assail (acetamiprid, United Phosphorus, Inc.), Scorpion, or Actara (thiamethoxam, Syngenta Crop Protection).

“When applied prior to plant emergence, either through drip chemigation, or as a soil, shank injection at planting, a systemic neonicotinoid insecticide is quickly taken up by the plant and distributed via the vascular tissue to the newly emerging plant growth,” he says. “As adults feed on this plant tissue, they are quickly killed before they are able to lay a large number of eggs.”

Management with a soil systemic insecticide also helps with controlling the vector of viruses such as CYSDV, explains Palumbo. This management strategy has been shown to reduce primary virus infection, and can suppress the subsequent spread of virus throughout the field.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
Berries
May 26, 2017
Jury Sides with University in Strawberry Breeding Lawsuit
Decision says former breeders infringed on UC patents to develop material for corporate breeding firm. Read More
Managed bee hive boxes around a blueberry field
Nuts
May 25, 2017
Stolen Hives Recovered in Nearly $1M Heist
Man likely stole hives from across the state of California in the last three years. Read More
Panama Canal Expansion opening celebration
Farm Management
May 25, 2017
Plight of Trade Policy Grounding Many U.S. Growers
Much-needed investments in labor-saving technology could be key to long-term survival. Read More
Cannabis plant closeup
Farm Management
May 25, 2017
Florida Farm Winning Case for Medicinal Cannabis License
Judge rules in favor of 3 Boys Farm in the quest to expand its crop/business portfolio. Read More
hands holding a globe
Citrus
May 25, 2017
Are We Overstating the World’s Overpopulation Problem?
If growers can’t achieve a fair return on investment and stay in business, it won’t matter what the population is in 2050. We all will be trouble. Read More
Falcon-takes-flight-at-Duncan-Family-Farms
Citrus
May 24, 2017
Falcons Scare off Other Birds at Duncan Family Farms
It collaborates with a firm that uses trained falcons to intimidate and scare off nuisance birds such as the horned larks and pigeons that frequent the area. Read More
Organic
May 24, 2017
Organic Growers in Turmoil (Opinion)
Although consumers are demanding, and getting more organic produce options, growers are grappling with fundamental questions. Read More
Corn leaf aphids on sweet corn
Sweet Corn
May 24, 2017
Stay on Your A Game to Conquer Corn Leaf Aphid
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this vegetable pest. Read More
Florida Ag Hall of Famer William Cook
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Search is on For Next Crop of Florida Agriculture Hall of Famers
Nomination period now open for longtime industry honor. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 23, 2017
Grower Shares Personal Impact of Labor Shortage
USApple leader Phil Glaize of Virginia stresses need for reform with current labor regulations, programs at Congressional briefing on agriculture labor crisis. Read More
Stone Fruit
May 23, 2017
Northeast Peach Crop Rebounds
After a mild winter and relatively uneventful bloom time, the crop is setting up nicely for the region. Read More
Berries
May 23, 2017
Researchers Examining Potential for Longer Berry Season in Northeast
Team at Penn State University using low and high tunnels and plastic coverings to extend raspberry and strawberry seasons. Read More
honeybees
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Webinar Series Highlights New Research on Honeybee Health
National Pollinator Week webinar showcases research to improve honeybee colony health by 2020. Read More
stack of lemons
Citrus
May 23, 2017
California Lemon Growers Sue USDA
Lemon industry files suit against rule allowing importation of Argentine lemons. Read More
Bee Vectoring Technologies experimental hives
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Insects (Bad and Good) Make for Interesting Field Trips
Disease-fighting bees and the deadly citrus psyllid were at the center of two recent, research-fueled out-of-office adventures. Read More
The Latest
Berries
May 26, 2017
Jury Sides with University in Strawberry…
Decision says former breeders infringed on UC patents to develop material for corporate breeding firm. Read More
Nuts
May 25, 2017
Stolen Hives Recovered in Nearly $1M Hei…
Man likely stole hives from across the state of California in the last three years. Read More
Farm Management
May 25, 2017
Plight of Trade Policy Grounding Many U.…
Much-needed investments in labor-saving technology could be key to long-term survival. Read More
Farm Management
May 25, 2017
Florida Farm Winning Case for Medicinal …
Judge rules in favor of 3 Boys Farm in the quest to expand its crop/business portfolio. Read More
Citrus
May 25, 2017
Are We Overstating the World’s Ove…
If growers can’t achieve a fair return on investment and stay in business, it won’t matter what the population is in 2050. We all will be trouble. Read More
Citrus
May 24, 2017
Falcons Scare off Other Birds at Duncan …
It collaborates with a firm that uses trained falcons to intimidate and scare off nuisance birds such as the horned larks and pigeons that frequent the area. Read More
Organic
May 24, 2017
Organic Growers in Turmoil (Opinion)
Although consumers are demanding, and getting more organic produce options, growers are grappling with fundamental questions. Read More
Sweet Corn
May 24, 2017
Stay on Your A Game to Conquer Corn Leaf…
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this vegetable pest. Read More
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Search is on For Next Crop of Florida Ag…
Nomination period now open for longtime industry honor. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 23, 2017
Grower Shares Personal Impact of Labor S…
USApple leader Phil Glaize of Virginia stresses need for reform with current labor regulations, programs at Congressional briefing on agriculture labor crisis. Read More
Stone Fruit
May 23, 2017
Northeast Peach Crop Rebounds
After a mild winter and relatively uneventful bloom time, the crop is setting up nicely for the region. Read More
Berries
May 23, 2017
Researchers Examining Potential for Long…
Team at Penn State University using low and high tunnels and plastic coverings to extend raspberry and strawberry seasons. Read More
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Webinar Series Highlights New Research o…
National Pollinator Week webinar showcases research to improve honeybee colony health by 2020. Read More
Citrus
May 23, 2017
California Lemon Growers Sue USDA
Lemon industry files suit against rule allowing importation of Argentine lemons. Read More
Citrus
May 23, 2017
Insects (Bad and Good) Make for Interest…
Disease-fighting bees and the deadly citrus psyllid were at the center of two recent, research-fueled out-of-office adventures. Read More
Crop Protection
May 23, 2017
Valent Grants Organic Farming Scholarshi…
University of Florida Doctor of Plant Medicine student receives $1,500 toward the development of training materials. Read More
Varieties & Rootstocks
May 23, 2017
In Quest for Low-Seeded Citrus, It Takes…
Momentum for viable mandarin hybrids for Florida reaching a peak in the land down under. Read More
GenNext Growers
May 22, 2017
How to Make Dollars and Sense of Today&#…
Despite current challenges impacting the future of the North American fruit and vegetable industry, there are opportunities to be had. Read More