The silverleaf whitefly (SLWF), Bemisia tabaci, (also known as sweet potato whitefly) is a pest of a wide variety of horticultural and agronomic crops in southern Georgia. Adults and nymphs (Figure 1) have piercing-sucking mouthparts and feed on phloem, the transport tissue of plants, and remove plant sap. While this direct feeding can damage plants and lead to additional problems with the accumulation of honeydew and sooty mold, whiteflies also inject salivary fluids while feeding, which can result in plant disorders and transmission of plant viruses. When viral pathogens are present, their transmission creates the greatest threat to the economical production of many vegetable crops, particularly tomatoes, snap beans, most cucurbit crops, and occasionally, cole crops. The potential for whitefly pest problems and viral disease incidence in Georgia varies greatly by year, location, and production season. Recent experience indicates that greater viral incidence can be observed when pest populations are high, even though few viruliferous (virus-carrying) whiteflies are needed to inoculate individual plants.
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Published on Oct 22, 2018