SAF Issues Alert on Whitefly Management

November 10, 2011 - 11:07

In response to increased detection of whiteflies, the Society of American Florists has issued an Action Alert to help keep growers informed on how to deal with these pests.

In 2005, SAF worked with the United States Department of Agriculture to convene an Ad Hoc whitefly task force that provided growers with some guidelines and recommendation in battling whiteflies.

Some of those recommendations include:

1. Weekly scouting is essential. Use sticky cards to monitor adults, and check the undersides of leaves to monitor the immature population. Visual inspections, sticky cards, and product performance-scouting are all necessary.

2. Study and implement the “Management Program for Whiteflies on Propagated Ornamentals.” Click here to access a copy, or go to any of these websites:

The management program is based on the best scientific data and is updated to include new testing results and new products as they become available.

3. Do not rely on just one or two effective products. Be sure to rotate with different modes of action, to decrease the potential for developing resistance. Growers should also time product applications to meet label recommendations for the current life
stage present.

4. If you have control problems, contact your propagator, your local extension agent or university expert. Knowing which biotype you are dealing with will help you choose the most effective control products: Q-biotype and some B-biotype whiteflies are resistant to certain products and will not be effectively controlled unless you use the correct program. Follow the Whitefly Management Program, and have your whiteflies biotyped. This process is fast, free and confidential.

5. Practice good sanitation between crop cycles. It is very important not to develop a resistant whitefly population develop in your greenhouse, and then cycle it from crop to crop! Make every effort to eradicate residual populations after shipment.

6. Inspect incoming shipments, and isolate if necessary. Ornamentals propagators are cooperating with the Task Force-developed program, so you should not be receiving undue numbers of whiteflies. Zero-tolerance is not the goal for anyone, so you may see a whitefly or two when your shipments arrive. That’s normal, and means that your propagator or rooting station is probably following good management practices. But if you see many whiteflies on incoming shipments, keep those plants separate from your other crops until they have been treated and inform your propagator or rooting station.

7. Watch your neighbors’ fields. If you’re near cotton, peanut or vegetable fields (and especially if you are in a part of the country that has been hot and dry over the summer), you may see whiteflies migrate to your greenhouse at the end of their season.

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