Location: Vegetable Research
Title: Combining Reflective Mulch and Host Plant Resistance to Manage Whiteflies in Watermelon Authors
Submitted to: International Plant Resistance to Insects Workshop Abstracts & Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 20, 2010
Publication Date: June 28, 2010
Citation: Simmons, A.M., Kousik, C.S., Levi, A. 2010. Combining Reflective Mulch and Host Plant Resistance to Manage Whiteflies in Watermelon. International Plant Resistance to Insects Workshop Abstracts & Proceedings. p. 36, No. 43. Technical Abstract: A study was conducted to evaluate the use of reflective mulch and host plant resistance for the management of the sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius), in watermelon [Citrullus lanatus var. lanatus (Thunberg) Matsum & Nakai]. Whitefly abundance data were collected under both greenhouse (caged and uncaged) and field conditions. Consistently, a reflective mulch treatment resulted in a lower incidence of adult whiteflies as compared with a standard black mulch treatment, and two whitefly resistant C. colocynthis (L.) Schrad genotypes, which are wild relatives of cultivated watermelon, reduced whitefly populations as compared with standard watermelon. Results from caged trials suggest no adverse effect of the reflective mulch on populations of two species of natural enemies (Delphastus catalinae (Horn), a whitefly predator, and an Eretmocerus sp. whitefly parasitoid). Overall whitefly populations were relatively low during the 4 seasons of field trials (2006-2009). Results from this study suggest that a combination of using reflective mulch and host plant resistance can additively suppress whitefly infestations, which have particular importance in the fast-growing organic vegetable production industry.