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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Agroecosystem Management Research

Title: Reducing whiteflies on cucumber using intercropping with less preferred vegetables

item Qing, Zhao
item Zhu, Junwei - Jerry
item Qin, Yuchuan
item Pan, Pengliang
item Tu, Hongtao
item Du, Wenxiao
item Zhou, Wangfang
item Baxendale, Frederick

Submitted to: Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/16/2013
Publication Date: 12/19/2013
Publication URL:
Citation: Qing, Z., Zhu, J.J., Qin, Y., Pan, P., Tu, H., Du, W., Zhou, W., Baxendale, F.P. 2013. Reducing whiteflies on cucumber using intercropping with less preferred vegetables. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. 150(1):19-27. DOI: 10.1111/EEA.12135.

Interpretive Summary: The sweet potato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Homoptera: Aleyrodidae) is a polyphagous insect pest that has been reported feeding on 600 plant species from 74 plant families. Its infestation not only wilts the host plants, and also provokes sooty mould via its secreting honeydew that leads to further damages through its transmitted virus. It has been reported that the whitefly can transmit more than 100 viral diseases. The whitefly is a serious insect pest in China, with a wide distribution in many regions. Its infestation has caused serious economic losses on many vegetables, flowers and other economically important crops. Chemical control has been used as the primary method for controlling whitefly in China. The massive uses of insecticides have led to a strong resistance by the whitefly. All of these have encouraged us to explore alternatives for some novel, sustainable and efficient strategies against the whitefly. One of them is to intercrop repellent plants with the whitefly targeted plants, so the released repellent odors could drive them away from host plants, or may further reduce the survival of whitefly.

Technical Abstract: The effectiveness of four less preferred vegetables – celery, asparagus lettuce, Malabar spinach, and edible amaranth – were investigated for suppression of two biotypes of sweet potato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) on cucumber, Cucumis sativus L. (Cucurbitaceae). Intercropping celery and Malabar spinach with cucumber significantly reduced whitefly numbers on cucumber. Y-tube olfactometer behavioral assays revealed that whiteflies were strongly repelled from the aqueous extracts of the less preferred vegetables. The level of whitefly repellency varied with combinations of intercropped vegetables, and also differed between the two whitefly biotypes. For whitefly biotype B, the greatest repellency was observed with asparagus lettuce extract, whereas celery and Malabar spinach extracts were more repellent to whitefly biotypeQ. Two major volatile constituent compounds were identified, D-limonene from celery and geranyl nitrile from Malabar spinach. Sprayable 1% formulations of these compounds significantly reduced whitefly colonization on cucumber under field conditions.

Last Modified: 06/22/2017
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