Whiteflies (Bemisia tabaci)
They suck plant sap and excrete honeydew where moulds grow, which may affect plant growth and vigour. The tobacco whitefly is considered a major pest due to its ability to vector various virus diseases, which cause considerable damage to cucurbits.
- Conserve natural enemies. Parasitic wasps are important in natural control of whiteflies
- Use reflective mulches (see aphids). Reflective mulch repels whitefly adults in pumpkin, cucumber and zucchini squash, resulting in delayed and reduced attack by this pest with consequent reduction in damage as shown in experiments in USA. Whitefly density on pumpkins and cucumbers plants growing over reflective mulch was reduced 10- to 14-fold as compared to plants growing on bare soil. This was reflected in significantly higher yields in plants grown over reflective mulch than in those grown over unmulched soil. (UCANR, 2003; Summers & Stapleton 2002)
- Whenever necessary spray the crop with neem products. Neem-based pesticides are reported to inhibit growth and development of immature stages, and to reduce egg laying by adult whiteflies