UGA CAES team researching whiteflies statewide

By Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

Silverleaf whiteflies devastated Georgia’s cotton and fall vegetable crops last year. In response to this crisis, a team of University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences research and UGA Cooperative Extension specialists is studying the pests statewide to help cotton and vegetable farmers avoid another year of disappointing crops.

“Teams are an important part of UGA. Many of the issues agriculturists face today require a collection of scientists from differing disciplines with differing expertise to address complex issues. The silverleaf whitefly fits the bill here,” said Phillip Roberts, UGA Extension cotton and soybean entomologist and Whitefly Team member. “Not only are whiteflies a direct pest of plants as a result of feeding, but they also transmit several viruses to vegetables that can have a devastating effect on virus-susceptible crops.” Continue reading

Predatory insect may help with whitefly control

Scientists at the University of Florida have found an insect predator that may help greenhouse tomato growers manage populations of the sweetpotato whitefly when used as a piece of an integrated pest management system.

Bemisia tabaci, also known as the sweetpotato whitefly or silverleaf whitefly, attacks a range of plants, including sweetpotato, squash, tomato and poinsettia. The biotype B species has been established in the United States since the late 1980s. It transmits Tomato yellow leaf curl virus. Young tomato plants infected with tomato yellow leaf curl virus are stunted and unproductive. Continue reading

Cucurbit leaf crumple virus verified in south Georgia

In Southeast Farm Press

by Stormy Sparks and Bhabesh Dutta, University of Georgia

While we have all been bracing for the potential onslaught of silverleaf whiteflies, the one bright spot was that the viral diseases that caused the bigger disasters in 2016 had not been seen in 2017. This is no longer the case.

Cucurbit leaf crumple virus, which decimated snap beans and squash last fall, has been verified from squash in South Georgia (the week of Aug. 1). As with the whiteflies, this first occurrence is earlier than the disease was detected last year. This has also occurred at lower whitefly densities than last fall, which suggests the potential that a fair percentage of whiteflies may already be carrying the virus. Continue reading