Continuing with the different tomato pests, today we are going to talk about the white fly. Their characteristics and way of life, what damage it 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 they 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.
Life cycle of the whitefly
The life cycle of these insects begins when the female lays the eggs on the underside of the leaves of the plant it affects. If the whitefly species is the Trialeurodes, it can lay unfertilized eggs and males will emerge, but if the eggs are fertilized, females will emerge. These females can lay between 80 and 300 eggsthat is why they are quite easy to spread by crops in less than a month that lasts 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. It takes about 6 days for the nymphs to hatch from the eggs and is almost invisible before reaching the pupa. The females are usually larger than the males and usually last about 28 days.
Direct and indirect damages that whitefly can cause
They affect many plants in addition to tomato, such as aubergines, peppers, cucumbers, squash, beans, etc. When they attack the plant, it causes a reduction in the size of the plant, causing a loss of product quality and reducing its production. This plague, unlike the aphid that we saw earlier in which weeds were the basis of the spread of the pest. 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 the plague treatments 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 causes the plant to stain black. They also transmit viruses.
How to combat the whitefly plague
The whitefly begins to be transmitted and spread when the good weather arrives, as now in spring and close to summer. They are more fond of good temperatures and that is why we have to put the batteries to prevent our tomatoes from being affected by these insects.
Sometimes when the whitefly attacks our crops, we despair and we end up resorting to the use of chemicals to combat them. But as we well know, we have to take into account that the use of chemical products makes the products not natural or 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 which are thrips, which attack us practically every year for 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 perform 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 them. 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 so that they cannot escape and harm our crops.
For this, we can use any material that makes them stick together such as glue, honey, etc. We have to take into account that if we use the glue that is used for mice we can make a bird get caught and die. As we do not want this, the above mentioned or oil and soap can be used as glue. In this way, we can place yellow rags impregnated with these materials so that whiteflies are attracted to it and we manage to weaken the pest making it reach acceptable levels for tomatoes and that they do not cause damage. This is more than enough, since, we must also comment that not only the whitefly will be attracted by the yellow color, but also other insects that are beneficial for the garden.
This is why we have to be careful when dealing with pests.