Whiteflies (Bemisia tabaci)
Whiteflies (Bemisia tabaci) suck the sap of leaves. Feeding weakens plants and may lead to yellowing and wilting, premature leaf shed and reduced plant growth, affecting the quality and quantity of yield. Severe attack may kill young plants. Honeydew excreted by whiteflies and sooty mould that develops subsequently can affect the fibre quality considerably and cause problems in processing the lint.
The whitefly is a vector of important virus diseases on various crops including cotton. It transmits the cotton leaf curl virus and the African cotton mosaic disease. Attacks are common during the dry season, and usually recede with the onset of rains.
- Whiteflies are attacked by parasitic wasps and predators. Conservation of these natural enemies is important.
- Yellow sticky traps are useful for monitoring whiteflies, and may help to control low populations.
- Use 3% potassium soap in acute cases
- Plant trap crops: e.g. Lablab niger