Greenhouse whitefly – Trialeurodes vaporariorum

Trialeurodes vaporariorum

Distribution:

Species often found on all continents. In Europe, it can be found in greenhouse and field conditions.

Description

The body of the adult is elongated, yellowish-white, covered by a white, pulverous, waxy secretion. The wings are well developed and present reduced veining. The body length reaches 1.1-1.3 mm.

Trialeurodes vaporariorum - whitefly

The egg is fusiform, with a diameter of 0.22-0.24 mm, presenting a short pedicle, which is yellowish-white colored when it is laid, two days later turning violet-black with metallic reflexes.

The newly hatched larva is oval shaped, pale-yellow colored, with red eyes. In the last development stage, called pupa; the pupa’s body is oval, dorsal-ventrally flattened and covered in a white, waxy secretion.

Biology and ecology:

The pest develops in greenhouse conditions over the course of the entire year, and in the field, it develops only during the vegetation period. In the greenhouse, it can develop 3-6 generation, when the conditions are favorable. 2-3 days after being hatched, the female starts to lay eggs.

The eggs are laid on the inferior side of the leaves, grouped in a circle, or isolated. Each egg laying is formed of 5-10 eggs, the total number of eggs laid by a female being of 100-500. Incubation in greenhouse conditions, at a medium temperature of 20-23º C, takes 10-30 days, after which the larvae form.

The development cycle is of 4-6 weeks in the greenhouse and 7-8 weeks in the field.

Affected plants and damage:

The pest presents an accentuated polyphagia, attacking a large number of spontaneous and cultivated (greenhouse and field) plants.

Trialeurodes vaporariorum - affected plant

Important damage is reported in tomato, pepper, eggplant, cucumbers, beans cultures. The adults and larvae form colonies on the leaves, often times attacking the shoots, pricking and sucking the sap from the tissues. As a consequence of the attack, the leaves turn yellow, they wither and fall.

Besides the direct action of the pest on the plant caused by feeding, that of sugar-like dejections adds up; sugar-like dejections favor the development of some species of fungi from the Alternaria, Fusarium, Penicillium genres, which have a negative influence on the physiologic processes of the plants, causing the premature withering of the foliage, with negative consequences on production. 

Prevention and control

The destruction of vegetal residues after the end of the culture, before the seedlings are planted, the disinfection of the greenhouse scaffolds and soil, prevent the attack of this pest.

At severe attacks, the repeated application of control chemical products, alternatively using one of the Movento 100 SC (7.5 ml/10 l water), Confidor Energy (1.3 l/ha), Decis Mega (0.05%) is recommended.

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