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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BIOLOGICALLY BASED MANAGEMENT OF INVASIVE INSECT PESTS AND WEEDS

Location: Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research Unit

Title: Biology, ecology, and control of the Ficus whitefly, Singhiella simplex (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae)

Authors
item Legaspi, Jesusa
item Mannion, Catherine -
item Amalin, Divina -
item Legaspi, Benjamin -

Submitted to: Potential Invasive Pests of Agricultural Crops
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: January 27, 2012
Publication Date: June 1, 2013
Citation: Legaspi, J.C., Mannion, C., Amalin, D., Legaspi, B. 2013. Biology, ecology, and control of the Ficus whitefly, Singhiella simplex (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae).Pena, J. (ed.) Potential Invasive Pests of Agricultural Crops. CABI, Oxfordshire, U. K. (Book Chapter). p. 363-372.

Interpretive Summary: The Ficus whitefly is an economic pest of Ficus plant species in India, Burma and China. The whitefly can cause serious injury to host plants by sucking sap, resulting in wilting, yellowing, stunting, defoliation, or plant death. Possibly the first report of the pest in the US occurred in South Florida in August 2007. Since then, the whitefly has been found throughout southern Florida, as well as along both coasts of Florida up to central Florida. Prior to the information described here, very little was known about the biology and reproduction of this pest. Detailed studies were performed in the laboratory by scientists at the USDA-ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, Florida, to measure insect development and reproduction at five different temperatures and it was found that no insect development would occur below 7.3 °C, and that 45.9°C was lethal. Whitefly reproduction was highest at 27°C. Duration of adulthood was longest at 15°C. Methods for controlling the whitefly include: chemicals, insect growth regulators, and fungi. In terms of biological control, samples of whitefly-infested plants yielded several species of parasitic wasps and predatory beetles. Laboratory studies on one predatory beetle showed that in a 24-h feeding period, each adult consumed about 150 eggs or 40 small larvae. Knowledge of the biology of this pest will be valuable in identifying controls and designing pest management strategies to protect Ficus plants in the United States.

Technical Abstract: The Ficus whitefly, Singhiella simplex (Singh) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae), is an economic pest of Ficus plant species in India, Burma and China. Severe infestations result in leaf dropping or shedding and defoliation. Since its initial US report in south Florida in 2007, the whitefly has expanded its geographical distribution in coastal counties towards central Florida. Prior to the data presented herein, very little information existed on the biology and life history of the Ficus whitefly. Detailed reproductive biology and life table studies were performed in the laboratory at 15, 20, 25, 27, 30 and 35 °C. The effects of temperature on development and oviposition rates were modeled using both linear and non-linear regressions. The lower developmental threshold temperature was estimated to be between 7.3 and 10.6°C, whereas the upper lethal limit was 45.9°C. Complete development required 487.8 degree-days. Whitefly reproduction was highest at 27°C: net reproductive rate (R0), intrinsic rate of increase (r), and doubling time (DT) were 23.1 females/female, 0.099 females/female/d, and 6.93 d, respectively. Duration of adulthood was longest at 15°C, averaging 8.0 d. At 15, 25, 27 and 30 °C, lifetime fecundity per female averaged 27.0, 37.9, 46.2, and 27.7 eggs, respectively. Methods for controlling the whitefly include: chemicals (e.g., imidacloprid, clothianidin, neonicotinoids), insect growth regulators, entomopathogenic fungi, a juvenile hormone analogue, a chitin synthesis inhibitor and a pyrethroid. In terms of biological control, samples of whitefly-infested plants yielded several species of parasitic Hymenoptera and predatory Coccinellidae. Laboratory studies on Delphastus catalinae (Horn) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) showed that in a 24-h feeding period, each adult consumed about 150 eggs or 40 small larvae.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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