Whitefly Pressure Varies Across Florida

Jim Rogers Pests

Whitefly pressure in Southwest Florida has increased in previous weeks as rains have decreased, according to the South Florida Pest and Disease Hotline. However, levels are about the same for this time of year.

Whiteflies

Some young fields are being flooded with adults from neighboring mature fields, and management is necessary. There is moderate pressure on melons, while low to moderate pressure on tomatoes, eggplant and cabbage.

Whiteflies in beans are increasing in Homestead, Florida, but levels of associated viruses are low. Silverleaf feeding damage in squash is also increasing.

A few whiteflies were observed on tomatoes on the East Coast. They area also reported in low to moderate levels in tomatoes, squash and cucumbers in central Florida.

Whiteflies can cause feeding injury issues in vegetables and transmit two viruses: cucurbit leaf crumple virus and cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus. Vegetables like squash, zucchini, cucumber, cantaloupe and snap beans are highly susceptible to these viruses.

While colder temperatures don’t eliminate whiteflies, they do kill many of their wild hosts. They also slow population development in cultivated hosts. Warmer temperatures this winter allowed for larger whitefly populations to overwinter and become mobile earlier.

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