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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fort Pierce, Florida » U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory » Subtropical Insects and Horticulture Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #337010

Research Project: Exotic Whitefly Pests of Vegetables and Ornamental Plants

Location: Subtropical Insects and Horticulture Research

Title: Bemisia tabaci MED (Q biotype) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae)is on the move in Florida to residential landscapes and may impact open field agriculture

Author
item Mckenzie, Cindy
item Osborne, Lance - University Of Florida

Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/2/2017
Publication Date: 6/1/2017
Citation: McKenzie, C.L., Osborne, L.S. 2017. Bemisia tabaci MED (Q biotype)(Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) is on the move in Florida to residential landscapes and may impact open field agriculture. Florida Entomologist. 100(2):481-484.

Interpretive Summary: Q biotype whiteflies (Q), more properly known as Bemisia tabaci MED (Mediterranean), have been in the United States for approximately a dozen years. First found on poinsettia during fall 2004 in a retail outlet in Arizona, MED has since been identified from greenhouse-grown ornamental horticulture plants in 26 states, including Florida. Indistinguishable morphologically from silverleaf whitefly (Bemisia tabaci MEAM1 (Middle Eastern Asia Minor 1)), MED is extremely problematic to agricultural production because it has a high propensity to develop resistance to insect growth regulators and neonicotinoid insecticides. Previously MED had been detected in North America only on ornamental plants and herbs in greenhouses and nurseries. This, however, changed in the spring of 2016 and the first detections of MED whitefly in residential landscapes and open field agricultural production fields are reported here with management recommendations.

Technical Abstract: Bemisia tabaci MED (Mediterranean) have been in the United States for approximately a dozen years spreading to 26 states since it was first detected in Arizona at a retail outlet on poinsettia in 2004. Indistinguishable morphologically from silverleaf whitefly (Bemisia tabaci MEAM1 (Middle Eastern Asia Minor 1)), MED is extremely problematic to agricultural production because it has a high propensity to develop resistance to insect growth regulators and neonicotinoid insecticides. Previously MED had been detected in North America only on ornamental plants and herbs in greenhouses and nurseries. This, however, changed in the spring of 2016. In early 2016, landscapers and pest control operators in Palm Beach County Florida began experiencing problems controlling extremely high populations of Bemisia whiteflies on hibiscus plantings in multiple residential neighborhoods. In total, ten residential landscapes were identified and subsequently determined to be infested by eastern MED. Furthermore, MED was detected from two open field locations one of which was in close proximity to a nursery where MED had previously been detected. Because we have detected MED in open field crops in the United States for the first time, and this pest is known to attack vegetables and cotton in other countries, there is a risk that unmanaged populations of MED could move from protected ornamental greenhouse production to open agriculture. In some cases, vegetable transplants and an array of ornamental plants are grown together in a greenhouse, which further increases the risk of introducing MED to field plantings of vegetables. There is also a concern that increased pesticide resistance will evolve in MEAM1.