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How to recognize whitefly

Despite their name, whiteflies are actually not flies. Instead, they belong to the group of true bugs, like aphids, mealy bugs and scale insects. Adults are 2-3 mm, have wings and have the ability to fly. Only early stage larvae have legs and are mobile. The younger stages usually settle on the underside of the leaf. The larvae are oval-shaped and translucent white to yellow. The last larval stage is a cocoon, which looks like a little box on the leaves. Adult whiteflies will emerge through a T-shaped tear in the cocoon. 

With their specially adapted mouth whiteflies puncture the phloem vessels of plants. Because of the high pressure in the phloem vessels plant saps will stream in and lead to an overdose of sugar, which whiteflies excrete in the form of honeydew. 

Eieren van de kaswittevlieg
Een pop van de kaswittevlieg

Whitefly damage

Whitefly is a big problem in greenhouse crops. Serious infestations can cause a big swarm of whiteflies when touched. Whiteflies, and the larvae in particular, feed on plant saps and excrete the surplus of sugars as honeydew. Honeydew will make the plants sticky. In addition, honeydew can act as a growth medium for black sooty mold fungus which will turn the leaves black and hamper photosynthesis. Whiteflies are also known as important virus transmitters. 

Common whitefly species

Greenhouse whitefly
Tobacco whitefly
Cabbage whitefly

Biological control of whitefly

One of the first biological control agents that was sold commercially against whitefly was the parasitoid Encarsia formosaEN-STRIP. This product is still being used very often and forms an important part of IPM or biological control of whitefly in many crops. Besides Encarsia formosa many other products are developed and available. These products can often be combined with Encarsia formosa. An important product is the predatory bug MIRICALMacrolophus pygmaeusEspecially in hairy crops with many trichomes and soft leaves, MIRICAL can be a very effective control agent of whitefly. In addition, other predatory mites like LIMONICA and SWIRSKI MITE are very capable control agents of whiteflyYELLOW STICKY TRAPS are used for quick monitoring of whitefly and catch a part of the pest population. 

The choice of a certain product or strategy for biological control of whitefly depends on the crop, cultivation type and pest pressure and tolerance. In greenhouses in the Netherlands two whitefly species are most present. Which of these two species is present determines the control strategy: while EN-STRIP (Encarsia formosa) prefers greenhouse whiteflyERCAL (Eretmocerus eremicus) prefers tobacco whitefly. ENERMIX is a combination of these two parasitoids and is the best choice for situations where it is not known which whitefly species is present. 

Parasitoid wasp Encarsia formosa EN-STRIP
EN-STRIP: A parasitoid effective against whitefly

Our products against whitefly

ERCAL

Effective against
- Greenhouse whitefly
- Tobacco whitefly

MACROLOPHUS PYGMAEUS

Effective against
- Whitefly and thrips
- Spider mite
- Tomato looper

HORIVER gele vangplaten

STICKY TRAPS

Effective against
- Whiteflies, aphids, thrips and fungus gnats

ENERMIX

Effective against
- Greenhouse whitefly
- Tobacco whitefly

LIMONICA - Amblydromalus limonicus, roofmijt

LIMONICA

Effective against
- Thrips
- Whitefly
- Tarsonemid mite

DELPHIBUG

Effective against
- Greenhouse whitefly
- Tobacco whitefly

EN-STRIP

Effective against
- Greenhouse whitefly
- Tobacco whitefly

SWIRSKI MITE - Amblyseius swirskii, roofmijt

SWIRSKI-MITE

Effective against
- (False) spider mite
- Thrips 

- Whitefly

Product MONTDOMITE roofmijt

MONTDO- MITE

Effective against
- Several thrips
- Whitefly