Whiteflies (Bemisia tabaci)
Whiteflies suck plant sap and excrete honeydew where moulds growth and may affect plant growth. However, the major damage is caused as vectors of 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, resulting in delayed and reduced attack by this pest with consequent reduction in damage as shown in experiments 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)
- If necessary spray 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.