The Enigmatic Whitefly

In the grand scheme of things, silverleaf whiteflies are way down on the list of economically damaging pests Beltwide.

In 2007, for instance, whiteflies ranked well below the bollworm/budworm complex, lygus, thrips and fleahoppers in economic losses. According to Beltwide data from the Cotton Foundation and Mississippi State University, bollworms/budworms destroyed 229,186 bales; whiteflies 14,817.

But looking at it from another angle, growers spent an average of $2.73 per acre for bollworm/budworm control, while one application of a whitefly material could run nearly $27 per acre, making it far and away the most expensive per-acre treatment. Comparing Beltwide averages versus a single treatment is not apples-to-apples, but it does underscore what a costly problem whiteflies can be.

Whiteflies cause yield loss and premature defoliation, and the honeydew they secrete can lead to discounted fiber quality through sticky cotton. But they are somewhat of an enigma in the Southeast: they are not an annual pest in most cases, and they usually confine themselves to late-planted, hairy-leaf varieties during periods of extended drought.

“Historically, silverleaf whiteflies are a pest in more arid environments, such as Arizona,” says Georgia Extension entomologist Dr. Phillip Roberts. “And you can occasionally find banded-winged whiteflies in other areas across the Belt.”

But in 2007, the silverleaf whitefly was most definitely a problem in pockets of south Georgia, especially in the late-planted, hairy-leaf varieties. Data from the University of California Extension service suggests that moisture builds up on the bottom of foliage in hairy-leaf varieties, and those varieties tend to hold that moisture for longer periods of time compared to smooth-leaf cottons. That makes hairy-leaf varieties much more attractive to thirsty whiteflies than smooth-leaf.

“What we had in places in Georgia in 2007 were the factors that make whiteflies an economic problem – droughty conditions and late planted, hairy-leaf varieties in spots where we hurt beneficial insects,” Roberts says.

Jeff Smith, a field market development specialist with Valent adds, “Last year was a perfect storm for whiteflies in Georgia – hot and dry.” Valent markets the insect growth regulator Knack, which is labeled for use in cotton on whiteflies.

“If whiteflies infest cotton before cutout – mid-August through mid-September, depending on planting date – that should influence how you manage other pests,” Roberts continues. “For example, if you see whiteflies in early August, you need to conserve beneficials if you can. But if you have to spray for something like stinkbugs, then you need to use a product that will also give whitefly suppression.”

According to Roberts, University of Georgia test plots planted the first of May last year had virtually no problems with whiteflies; those planted the first of June did.

Caption:

Dr. Phillip Roberts

Sidebar caption photo:

Silverleaf whitefly

Caption:

Whiteflies lay eggs and develop on the bottoms of leaves.

Leave a Reply

Insect Control Stories
Insect Control

Wake-Up Call for Old World Bollworm

August 20, 2015

The Old World bollworm – an aggressive global pest – has apparently found its way to the U.S.

Insect Control

New Webcast Focuses on Lygus Management in Texas High Plains

August 17, 2015

A new webcast focusing on lygus management in the Texas High Plains cotton has been added to the Focus on Cotton online series from the Plant Management Network and Cotton Incorporated.

Insect Control

Set Treatment Schedule for Plant Bugs

June 1, 2015

As young cotton matures, it’s time to take the offensive when dealing with plant bugs.

Insect Control

Evaluate Young Cotton for Thrips Damage

May 29, 2015

With good stands of young cotton emerging in most fields, it’s time to start watching for signs of thrips damage.

Insect Control

Dates Confirmed for Tennessee and Arkansas Scout Schools

May 18, 2015

The University of Tennessee and the University of Arkansas have confirmed dates for each state’s upcoming cotton scout schools.

Insect Control

Dates Set for Georgia Cotton Scout Schools

May 11, 2015

The University of Georgia will conduct two cotton insect scouting schools in early June.

Insect Control

Watch Emerging Cotton Closely for Signs of Thrips

May 7, 2015

With cotton now in the ground and starting to emerge, it’s time to watch closely to see if pre-plant thrips treatments are holding.

Around The Gin
Product News

Falcon Adds Two New Automated Precision Soil Samplers

August 28, 2015

Falcon Soil Technology has added two new automated soil sampling systems to its product lineup.

Product News

HUMA GRO Adds New Boron Liquid Nutrient Formulation for Crops

August 28, 2015

BORO-MAX, a new boron 10 percent liquid nutrient formulation, is now available from HUMA GRO.

Product News

On-Farm Research Helps Ease Grower Questions About Enlist System

July 31, 2015

Southern cotton and soybean growers who have worked with the Enlist Weed Control System in on-farm research plots are now sharing their experiences.

Product News

Nufarm Introduces Panther SC Herbicide

July 24, 2015

Nufarm is introducing Panther SC herbicide, a new broad-spectrum herbicide for use in cotton and other Southern row crops.

Product News

USDA Deregulates Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist Cotton Trait

July 23, 2015

The USDA has deregulated Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist cotton trait in the United States.

Product News

Ratting Out Copper Theft

June 10, 2015

A simple alarm technology is helping to stop copper thieves who target irrigation systems.

Product News

EPA Approves New Premix for 2016 for Cotton, Soybean Weed Control

May 29, 2015

Cotton and soybean growers will have a new weed control option in 2016 with Warrant Ultra Herbicide, a premix of acetochlor and fomesafen.

Product News

Deltapine NPE Program Begins Eighth Year of On-Farm Variety Evaluation

April 28, 2015

Nearly 200 farmers will be part of the Deltapine New Product Evaluator program this year to help evaluate cotton variety candidates for the Deltapine Class of 16.

Latest News
Insect Control

Wake-Up Call for Old World Bollworm

August 20, 2015

The Old World bollworm – an aggressive global pest – has apparently found its way to the U.S.

Insect Control

New Webcast Focuses on Lygus Management in Texas High Plains

August 17, 2015

A new webcast focusing on lygus management in the Texas High Plains cotton has been added to the Focus on Cotton online series from the Plant Management Network and Cotton Incorporated.

Insect Control

Plan Cotton Insect Strategies for Mid to Late Bloom

July 17, 2015

Scott Stewart, Tennessee Extension entomologist, offers several strategies to help manage plant bugs, stink bugs and bollworms during the blooming period.

Insect Control

NC State: Managing Plant Bugs in Cotton Presquare

June 10, 2015

An early wave of plant bugs is causing problems in young presquare cotton in North Carolina.

Insect Control

Set Treatment Schedule for Plant Bugs

June 1, 2015

As young cotton matures, it’s time to take the offensive when dealing with plant bugs.

Insect Control

Evaluate Young Cotton for Thrips Damage

May 29, 2015

With good stands of young cotton emerging in most fields, it’s time to start watching for signs of thrips damage.

Insect Control

Dates Confirmed for Tennessee and Arkansas Scout Schools

May 18, 2015

The University of Tennessee and the University of Arkansas have confirmed dates for each state’s upcoming cotton scout schools.

Insect Control

Dates Set for Georgia Cotton Scout Schools

May 11, 2015

The University of Georgia will conduct two cotton insect scouting schools in early June.

Insect Control

Watch Emerging Cotton Closely for Signs of Thrips

May 7, 2015

With cotton now in the ground and starting to emerge, it’s time to watch closely to see if pre-plant thrips treatments are holding.

Insect Control

Mississippi Scout School Schedule Set

April 16, 2015

Mississippi State University has scheduled five scout schools in late May and early June.

Insect Control

Georgia Scientists Seek Public’s Help in Tracking New Stink Bug

April 14, 2015

University of Georgia entomologists are asking Georgians to help track an insect that loves to stow away in homes and could potentially hurt the state’s crops, including cotton.

Insect Control

Plan Now for Plant Bug Management

March 6, 2015

Mississippi State University entomologists have developed Best Management Practices to help growers make plant bug management in cotton more economical, without sacrificing yield.

Insect Control

Search for Thrips Control Options Continues

February 3, 2015

Thrips control in 2014 proved challenging for many growers. And the findings from field studies conducted last year may not provide many happy answers for this season.

Insect Control

New Mid-South Insect Control Guides Now Available

January 22, 2015

Insect control guides for 2015 are now available from the University of Tennessee and from Mississippi State University.

Insect Control

Genome Mapping Signals Brighter Days for U.S. Cotton

December 6, 2014

At a time when growers rely increasingly more on genetic advancements in yield and fiber quality to keep cotton economically viable, cotton breeders and researchers are excited about the possibilities that genome mapping brings to variety and trait development.