Whiteflies

Whiteflies, also referred to as Aleyrodidae, are winged insects with soft bodies that share a close relation to aphids and mealybugs. They can be found in virtually any region, but their small size often allows them to blend in with their surroundings.

Measuring as small as 1/12 of an inch, whiteflies have a somewhat triangular shape and tend to gather in groups on the undersides of leaves. Unlike nocturnal pests, they are active during the daytime, making them relatively easier to detect. In warmer climates, whiteflies can survive winter and reproduce throughout the year.

One well-known type of whitefly is the silver leaf whitefly, which is slightly smaller and has a more yellowish hue compared to other whiteflies. Silver leaf whiteflies are particularly prevalent in tropical regions.

All species of whiteflies have an impact on a wide range of plants.

Whiteflies are commonly observed during the warm months, particularly in mid- to late-summer, and they are also frequently encountered as pests in greenhouse environments.

Feeding and Damage

Whiteflies have a feeding behavior in which they insert their stylet-like mouthparts into plant tissues, specifically the phloem, to extract plant juices. They consume more plant juice than they can effectively digest, resulting in the excretion of excess sugary liquid known as honeydew.

The honeydew coats the surfaces of leaves and provides an ideal environment for the growth of a black fungus called sooty mold. This mold can cause fungal diseases and also disrupt the process of photosynthesis.

It is important to note that whiteflies can transmit the leaf curl virus to plants.

To eliminate the presence of sooty mold, honeydew residue, and other contaminants from the surface of leaves, you can apply a mixture of JAMBO CLEAN (100ml) and water (20 liters), along with INTEGRA (3ml) mixed in 20 liters of water.

Sooty mold is a common issue that affects citrus plants.

IDENTIFICATION

Whiteflies extract plant juices, leading to the secretion of a sticky substance called honeydew.

As a result of whitefly feeding, plants experience rapid weakening and may struggle to undergo photosynthesis. Symptoms include wilting leaves, pale or yellow discoloration, and stunted growth.

The presence of honeydew indicates that whiteflies have been feeding for several days, and you might also notice the presence of ants, which are attracted to the honeydew.

To identify whiteflies, inspect the undersides of leaves, particularly along the veins, even if the insects themselves are not visible. Additionally, feel the leaf surfaces for the presence of honeydew. When disturbed, whiteflies will swiftly fly off the leaves in a swarm.

It is worth noting that whiteflies also lay eggs on the undersides of leaves, marking the beginning of a new generation. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae will appear as small white oval shapes without legs. Although they remain stationary, they immediately commence feeding on plant juice. This is why gardeners often overlook whiteflies until the infestation is well underway.

Biology

Female whiteflies have the ability to lay a substantial number of eggs, with a potential production of up to 400 eggs. The eggs typically take around one week to a month to hatch and are commonly arranged in a circular arrangement. When newly laid, the eggs have a pale yellow color, but as they approach hatching, they turn brown.

Control

These small insects that pierce and suck plant juices are known for their resistance to chemicals, which they develop rapidly. However, Green Life Crop Protection offers highly effective and affordable solutions for their control. It is recommended to alternate the use of the following chemicals:

  • Taurus 500 SP: Mix 15g with 20 liters of water.
  • Presento 200 SP: Mix 5g with 20 liters of water.
  • Profile 440EC: Mix 30ml with 20 liters of water.
  • Emerald 200SL: Mix 10ml with 20 liters of water.
  • King Code Elite 50EC: Mix 10ml with 20 liters of water.

Note: Always add Integra at a rate of 3ml per 20 liters of water. Integra serves as a sticker, wetter, spreader, and penetrant. It ensures that the sprayed products adhere to the leaves and stems, spreads across all areas of the leaves, and reaches the undersides. This property maximizes the effectiveness of the products in eliminating the onion thrips.

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