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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 #339452

Research Project: Exotic Whitefly Pests of Vegetables and Ornamental Plants

Location: Subtropical Insects and Horticulture Research

Title: Whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) management program for ornamental plants

item Kumar, Vivek - University Of Florida
item Palmer, Cristi - Rutgers University
item Mckenzie, Cindy
item Osborne, Lance - University Of Florida

Submitted to: Extension Digital Information Source (EDIS)
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/26/2017
Publication Date: 7/7/2017
Citation: Kumar, V., Palmer, C., McKenzie, C.L., Osborne, L.S. 2017. Whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) management program for ornamental plants. Extension Digital Information Source (EDIS)-online extension publication. Available:

Interpretive Summary: The silverleaf whitefly is a group of whiteflies comprised by several biotypes that cannot be distinguished except by molecular methods. Among different members of this group, the B and Q biotypes are considered the two most destructive pests of a wide range of crops including vegetables, ornamentals and fibers. Owing to their polyphagous nature and damage potential to nursery and greenhouse production, they inflict millions of dollars loss annually. This publication reviews the importance of these whiteflies and current management strategies for ornamental plants.

Technical Abstract: Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) commonly known as silverleaf whitefly, is a polyphagous pest considered to be one of the most notorious invasive arthropods worldwide. The pest status of Bemisia tabaci is complicated because of their well debated taxonomic architecture which was previously identified to consist 36 “biotypes ” and now been proposed as 24 discrete morphologically indistinguishable species. The two most invasive members of this cryptic species complex posing the greatest threat to growers are Middle East/Asia Minor 1 (MEAM1) and Mediterranean (MED) commonly known as biotypes B and Q, respectively. Considering the large host range and the damage potential of the two biotypes for the ornamental industry in the US, in this article we present a systems approach for managing both B and Q biotypes. Here, we outline steps to be taken by the growers at the different stages of plant growth before it is ready to be shipped. In the purview of recent reports of Q whitefly invasion in Florida landscape, it is extremely important to take appropriate measures for ensuring economic damage to our growers due to this pest.