Continuing with the different tomato pests, today we are going to talk about the whitefly . Their characteristics and way of life, what damage they can cause to our tomatoes and how to combat them if they affect us.
There are many species of whitefly but Trialeurodes vaporariorum, Bemicia tabaci are the most common in agriculture. They all have a very similar biological cycle. If you want to know more about how they act and how to combat them, keep reading.
- 1 Whitefly life cycle
- 2 Direct and indirect damage that can be caused by the whitefly
- 3 How to combat the whitefly plague
whitefly life cycle
The life cycle of these insects begins when the female lays her eggs on the underside of the leaves of the plant she affects. If the whitefly species is Trialeurodes, it can lay eggs without fertilizing and males will come out, but if the eggs are fertilized, females will come out. These females can lay between 80 and 300 eggs , which is why they are quite easy to spread through crops in less than a month during the life cycle of these insects.
The eggs that the female lays are very small so it is difficult to see them with the naked eye. It forms a kind of white circle. More or less the nymphs take 6 days to come out of the eggs and it is almost invisible before reaching the pupa. Females are usually larger than males and usually last about 28 days.
Direct and indirect damage that can be caused by the whitefly
They affect many plants in addition to the tomato such as eggplants, peppers, cucumbers, pumpkins, beans, etc. When they attack the plant, it causes a reduction in the size of the plant, causing the product to lose quality and reducing its production. This plague, unlike that of the aphid that we saw earlier in which weeds were the basis of the spread of the plague. However, with the whitefly we can use an attraction tactic that consists of planting good grass away from the crop, in this way the whitefly will go there and treatments for the pest can be applied to the good grass.
As for the indirect damage that the whitefly can cause, we find a sugary liquid that impregnates the affected plant, giving rise to a fungus known as bold that makes the plant stain black. They also transmit viruses.
How to combat whitefly infestation
The whitefly begins to spread and spread when the good weather arrives, like now in spring and close to summer. They are more fond of good temperatures and that is why we have to get our act together to prevent our tomatoes from being affected by these insects.
Sometimes, when the whitefly attacks our crops, we get desperate and end up resorting to the use of chemical products to combat them . But as we well know, we have to bear in mind that the use of chemical products means that the products are not natural and do not taste good, apart from the contamination of the soil and water.
That is why we have to dedicate ourselves to being able to destroy pests such as aphids, whiteflies and another that we will see the next day that are thrips, which attack us practically every year this spring season, in a natural way, ecological and sustainable with the environment. It is always better to fight pests naturally as it does not degrade the soil and makes us spend more money on chemicals.
In this case, a very useful way to get rid of this plague is to make a chromatic trap . This consists of making our own plant, knowing that many insects have a weakness for the color yellow and are attracted to it. These insects will go for the yellow color without being able to resist it. Well, making use of this knowledge, all we have to do is take advantage of this to be able to catch them and prevent them from escaping and harming our crops.
To do this, we can use any material that makes them stick together, such as glue, honey, etc. We have to bear in mind that if we use the glue that is used for mice we can cause a bird to get trapped and die. As we do not want this, the aforementioned or oil and soap can be used as glue. In this way, we can place yellow rags impregnated with these materials so that the whiteflies are attracted to it and we manage to weaken the pest, making it reach acceptable levels for the tomatoes and not causing damage. This is more than enough, since we must also comment that not only the white fly will be attracted to the yellow color, but also other insects that are beneficial for the orchard.
This is why we have to be careful when dealing with pests.