Submitted to: African Entomology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2012
Publication Date: 9/20/2012
Citation: Abd-Rabou, S., Simmons, A.M. 2012. Some cultural strategies to help manage Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) and associated whitefly-viruses in vegetable crops. African Entomology. 20(2):371-379. Interpretive Summary: The sweetpotato whitefly is a major global pest which attacks and transmits viruses to many vegetable crops and other crops on a global scale. There is a need to manage whiteflies and their associated viruses by methods other than relying on the traditional use of synthetic insecticides. Use of plastic mulch, interplanting of corn, and crop rotation all resulted in low numbers of whiteflies and low incidence of viruses as compared with standard crops of cucumber, squash and tomato. The cultural management strategies used in this study are tools that growers may use to help manage B. tabaci and associated viruses in vegetable crops.
Technical Abstract: The sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius), is an important global pest of numerous crops as a result of its feeding and whitefly-transmitted plant viruses. To help develop a strategy to manage this pest and associated viruses in three vegetable crops in the Egyptian agricultural system, experiments on several cultural techniques were conducted. Cultural practices of mulching with white polyethylene, intercropping with corn (Zea mays L.), and crop rotation with corn resulted in reduced whitefly populations and reduced incidences of viruses in cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.), squash (Cucurbita pepo L.) and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.). However, no benefit in whitefly abundance and virus incidence was obtained from modifying the planting time by one month earlier than standard planting. There was a high correlation between whitefly abundance and virus incidence. Based on viral symptoms, up to 75% infection was observed in untreated plots, while most of the untreated plots had less than 40% infection. The viruses affecting the crops were cucumber vein yellowing virus in cucumber, squash leaf curl virus in squash, and Tomato yellow leaf curl virus in tomato; they are common problems in Egypt. The first mentioned virus is caused by an Ipomovirus in the family Potyviridae while the other two are Begomovirus in the family Geminivaridae. The cultural management strategies utilized in this study are viable tools to help manage B. tabaci and associated viruses in vegetable crops.