New Fungus May Control Whiteflies

May 18, 2007 - 07:37

A fungus spotted on eggplant-feeding insects in Texas may become a new biological control for whiteflies. The new fungus, Isaria propawskii, has been shown to kill larval and adult silverleaf whiteflies. It is a promising candidate for the control of pests because of its natural establishment in a semiarid region reaching high temperatures and its continuing persistence. The fungus may also protect against another major pest, the glassywinged sharpshooter.

The silverleaf whitefly is very small but can be deadly to some plants. Heavy feeding can give plants under attack a yellow, mottled look as well as kill them. Many pesticides have not been effective in controlling whiteflies because of resistance, the need for repeated applications and the potential hazard to the environment, animal life and humans.

To learn more, go to www.ars.usda.gov.

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