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New silverleaf whitefly trap
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New Trap To Control Silverleaf Whiteflies

By David Elstein
May 30, 2002

A new inexpensive, environmentally friendly trap developed by Agricultural Research Service scientists in Phoenix, Ariz., captures pesky silverleaf whiteflies that cause millions of dollars a year in damage to field and greenhouse crops.

The trap was developed by plant physiologist Chang-Chi Chu and Thomas Henneberry, director of the ARS Western Cotton Research Laboratory in Phoenix. The new trap is an improvement on their CC Trap developed in 1996 to monitor whiteflies in the field.

The new trap is known as a Light-Emitting Diode (LED) Equipped CC (LED-CC) Trap. The original trap only captured enough whiteflies to be used for monitoring whitefly population levels. But the new version captures so many whiteflies--in the greenhouse and outdoors--that it has potential to be used in control programs, not just for monitoring population levels.

The new trap contains a green LED light that has been used as a pilot light in many types of electronic equipment and appliances. The whiteflies are attracted to this light and then get caught in the trap, which looks like an overturned plastic cup with a yellow ring on the bottom. The LED-CC trap works especially well at night in attracting whiteflies. Also, LED-CC traps are inexpensive and durable.

Chu points out that one of the major benefits of the LED-CC Trap is that it is “whitefly parasite friendly”--unlike many other traps on the market. That means the new trap will control whiteflies without harming beneficial insects that attack whiteflies. The new trap also captures and kills whiteflies without the use of pesticides.

The original CC trap, used for field monitoring, pinpointed infestations so that farmers could then initiate control actions based on the severity of the infestation. The original CC Trap was a definite improvement on the popular yellow sticky card trap that caught other insects, as well as dust.

Scientists and farmers are just starting to receive information about the LED-CC Trap, but there is already high initial interest because of the trap’s potential for controlling whiteflies.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific research agency.