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Whitefly Situation Could Change Rapidly

We have had reports of whiteflies in multiple locations for some time. Thankfully they have remained low; however, that could change rapidly.

In tests on station in Tifton, the whitefly population has increased significantly in the last week or so. We are seeing silverleaf in young squash. Adult counts today in squash averaged about 30 adults per leaf. Snap beans in the same field averaged about 2 or 3 per leaf. Not huge counts, but definitely more than we want to see this time of year. Continued hot and dry weather is not what we want. Nobody wants a hurricane, but a nice tropical system that drops a couple inches of rain over everything would be nice.

Keep an eye on whiteflies and treat them early in infestations. We don’t have anything that is great on adults, so established populations are difficult and expensive to battle. The Group 4 and Group 28 insecticides are still our foundation products for most control programs, but reliance on them will likely end in resistance problems. We do have a wide variety of other products that should be used when appropriate (early in infestations, rotations, etc.). These include Knack, Courier, Movento, Sefina, PQZ and probably a few others that slip my mind right now.

The silver lining for now is that we have not seen whitefly transmitted viruses in the area. We can battle whiteflies as a direct pest with some success. Whitefly as a vector of viruses is much more difficult problem.