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

States Seeking Transform Exemption for Plant Bugs

May 6, 2016

Three Mid-South states have requested emergency exemptions to use Transform for tarnished plant bug control in cotton.

Insect Control

AgriLife Extension: Monitor and Treat Early for Cotton Thrips

May 17, 2016

With cotton planting underway across the High Plains, cotton producers should be on the lookout for thrips and be prepared to treat, if needed.

Insect Control

Tennessee Sets Cotton Scout School

May 17, 2016

Tennessee’s annual Cotton Scout School is set for May 27 in Jackson.

Young Cotton Plant
Insect Control

AgriLife Extension Scout School Set for April 5

March 24, 2016

The Texas Panhandle Scout School, hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, will be held April 5 in Amarillo.

Insect Control

Thrips Continue to Drive Seed Treatment Use

March 2, 2016

With thrips present in nearly 100% of Mississippi and other Mid-South cotton fields, growers can’t afford to cut back on seed treatments to help get their crop off to a solid start.

Insect Control

Options for Tarnished Plant Bug IPM Programs

February 5, 2016

With the availability of Transform in question for 2016, Mississippi State Extension specialists and researchers have developed two IPM programs for management of tarnished plant bugs.

Insect Control

2016 Mississippi Insect Control Guide Now Available

December 17, 2015

The Mississippi 2016 Insect Control Guide for Agronomic Crops is now available online, with hard copies available in January.

Around The Gin
Product News

Record Yields Set by 2015 FiberMax One Ton Club

May 4, 2016

The 127 members who qualified for the FiberMax One Ton Club pushed cotton yields and quality to higher levels in 2015.

Product News

Meister Media Worldwide Website Relaunches With New Resources

April 22, 2016

Meister Media Worldwide — publisher of Cotton Grower magazine – has relaunched its corporate website, highlighting information and services available from one of agriculture’s leading media companies.

Product News

ReinCloud Promises Remote Control

April 18, 2016

New software set to combine irrigation management and data collection – all in the palm of your hand.

Product News

Search Begins for Deltapine Class of 17

April 14, 2016

Deltapine’s NPE program is nine years old, and the search for the company’s Class of 17 cotton varieties is underway.

Product News

Texas Farmer First to Plant Enlist Cotton Variety

April 11, 2016

Dean Hansen of El Campo, TX, was the first cotton grower in North America to plant the first commercially-available cottonseed with the Enlist cotton trait.

Product News

New Options for Roundup Ready PLUS Program

March 25, 2016

The Roundup Ready PLUS Crop Management Solutions program for 2016 includes a new tool for weed management and new incentives for farmers looking to fight insect pests in corn.

Product News

Greenleaf Launches easyFlow Closed Transfer System

March 24, 2016

Greenleaf Technologies has launched the company’s new easyFlow closed transfer system for the North American market.

Product News

AgLogic Launches Aldicarb Product in Georgia

March 15, 2016

Growers in Georgia will be able to use a new aldicarb pesticide in 2016 for nematode and early season pest control.

Latest News
Insect Control

AgriLife Extension: Monitor and Treat Early for Cotton Thrips

May 17, 2016

With cotton planting underway across the High Plains, cotton producers should be on the lookout for thrips and be prepared to treat, if needed.

Insect Control

Tennessee Sets Cotton Scout School

May 17, 2016

Tennessee’s annual Cotton Scout School is set for May 27 in Jackson.

Insect Control

States Seeking Transform Exemption for Plant Bugs

May 6, 2016

Three Mid-South states have requested emergency exemptions to use Transform for tarnished plant bug control in cotton.

Insect Control

New Webcast Addresses Thrips Management Strategies

May 3, 2016

A new webcast focusing on thrips management strategies for the Southeast has been added to the Focus on Cotton online series from the Plant Management Network and Cotton Incorporated.

Insect Control

Providing Sudden Impact in Worm Control

April 8, 2016

Twenty years ago, Bollgard technology came to U.S. cotton fields. Cotton production hasn’t been the same since.

Insect Control

AgriLife Extension Scout School Set for April 5

March 24, 2016

The Texas Panhandle Scout School, hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, will be held April 5 in Amarillo.

Insect Control

Thrips Continue to Drive Seed Treatment Use

March 2, 2016

With thrips present in nearly 100% of Mississippi and other Mid-South cotton fields, growers can’t afford to cut back on seed treatments to help get their crop off to a solid start.

Insect Control

Options for Tarnished Plant Bug IPM Programs

February 5, 2016

With the availability of Transform in question for 2016, Mississippi State Extension specialists and researchers have developed two IPM programs for management of tarnished plant bugs.

Insect Control

2016 Mississippi Insect Control Guide Now Available

December 17, 2015

The Mississippi 2016 Insect Control Guide for Agronomic Crops is now available online, with hard copies available in January.

Insect Control

EPA Issues Cancellation Order for Transform

November 16, 2015

EPA has issued a cancellation order for products containing sulfoxaflor – including Transform – in response to a September ruling by the Nine Circuit Court of Appeals that vacated the product registrations.

Insect Control

USDA Exploring New Options for Pink Bollworm Control

October 6, 2015

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is using remotely piloted aircraft to help eliminate small-scale outbreaks of pink bollworm.

Insect Control

Boll Weevil Eradication Making Progress in Texas

September 28, 2015

The Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation is making solid progress in eliminating the the cotton boll weevil from the state's cotton fields. But there's still work remaining.

Insect Control

Citing Bee Deaths, U.S. Appeals Court Vacates Transform Registration

September 11, 2015

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has vacated EPA approval of the pesticide sulfoxaflor, stating that the agency erred by granting the registration without additional studies regarding potential impact on honeybees.

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.