Submitted to: Tomato Disease Workshop
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/21/2004
Publication Date: 6/25/2004
Citation: Funderburk, J.E., Reitz, S.R., Cabrera, I., Boucias, D. 2004. Uv mulch and reduced-risk insecticides for management of whiteflies. Tomato Disease Workshop, Orlando, FL. June 21-24, 2004.
Interpretive Summary: Whiteflies are significant insect pests of tomatoes in the southeastern USA and Caribbean Basin. Their feeding causes irregular ripening of fruit, and they can transmit devastating plant viruses, such as tomato yellow leaf curl virus. Because tomatoes in the southeast and Caribbean Basin are grown in beds covered with plastic mulches, USDA-ARS scientists at the CMAVE in Tallahassee, FL are collaborating with scientists from the University of Florida and University of Puerto Rico to examine how different types of plastic mulch can be incorporated into integrated pest management programs for whiteflies. These studies show that the use of metalized mulches that reflect ultraviolet (UV) radiation significantly reduce whitefly abundance compared with standard plastic mulches. Consequently, the UV reflective mulches increased yields. This research also shows that additional reduction in the abundance of whiteflies can be achieved when UV reflective mulches are combined with just a single early season application of imidicloprid and two late season applications of spiromesifen, another reduced risk insecticide. Additional studies are being conducted to determine the effect of these management strategies on natural enemies of whiteflies, and further improve IPM programs for tomato crops.
Technical Abstract: Whiteflies and whitefly-vectored geminiviruses are significant pests of tomatoes in the southeastern USA and Caribbean Basin. Because primary infection of tomatoes with geminiviruses cannot be controlled with insecticides, we examined the effects that ultraviolet (UV) reflective mulches have on whitefly abundance, incidence of natural enemies, and incidence of geminivirus infected plants. UV-reflective mulch significantly reduced abundance of adult and immature whiteflies compared with standard white plastic mulch. Differences were most pronounced early in the season. Additional reductions in whitefly abundance were achieved in plots receiving one early season application of imidicloprid and two late season applications, spiromesifen, an insecticide that inhibits lipid biosynthesis. The UV reflective mulch significantly increased yields compared with the standard white plastic mulch. However, insecticide treatments did not significantly increase yields. Additional studies are being conducted to determine the effect of these management strategies on natural enemies of whiteflies, and the incidence of whitefly-vectored viruses.