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The minute chalcid wasp Encarsia formosa is commercially produced and sent from country to country for release onto crops in glasshouses. Consequently, it is not possible to provide an accurate distribution for this natural enemy, which originated in North America and has been introduced to Australia and Hawaii, USA.
The most likely distribution of natural enemies important in the field are provided in the tabular data. Impact Top of page Whiteflies damage plants directly by sucking sap from leaves and indirectly by transmitting viruses and producing a sticky secretion known as honeydew, which prevents crops from functioning normally, as well as acting as a substrate for fungal growth sooty moulds.
Whitefly adults and nymphs feed by inserting their proboscis into the leaf, penetrating the phloem or nutrient conducting vessels and withdrawing sap.
As it feeds, the whitefly injects saliva into plant tissues. Whitefly feeding removes nutrients from the plant which may result in stunting, poor growth, defoliation, reduced yields and even death in extreme cases. The extent of damage caused by feeding is generally directly proportional to the whitefly population and low populations rarely have much impact.
On certain plants, stunting or abnormal coloration can be caused due to the physiological stress of the feeding. Plants stressed by the removal of sap due to heavy whitefly feeding may require more irrigation.
Whiteflies secrete significant quantities of honeydew as they feed. When populations of whiteflies are high, honeydew production can be copious, dripping down leaves onto fruit.
Honeydew becomes a serious problem when it is colonized by black, sooty mould fungi, blackening leaf or fruit surfaces.
This can render fruit unmarketable and block out sunlight, inhibiting photosynthesis. More recently, it has become a serious horticultural pest within areas of southern Europe, where an increase in the incidence of Tomato chlorosis virus may be attributed to it.
Within the UK, insecticide resistance has led to increased problems for growers of shrubs such as Ceanothus and soft fruit crops such as strawberries.
Virus transmission The piercing and sucking mouthparts of T. As immature stages do not move on to new plants, virus transmission is a concern only with adult whiteflies.
Some of the more important viruses spread by T. Further viruses are being identified and characterized which include Strawberry pallidosis virus Tzanetakis et al.
Detection and Inspection Top of page Regular field monitoring is important for the detection and management of T. The intensity of monitoring is dependent on the perceived pest threat and the likelihood of management action being required.
If insecticides or beneficial insects are to be applied, a good estimate of whitefly populations should be made before and after treatment, as treatments should be made according to established action thresholds if they are available. Tools available for monitoring whiteflies include visual sampling leaf turningyellow sticky traps, pan counts and vacuum samples.
Visual sampling by leaf examination is the most common and accurate method of monitoring whiteflies. Although nymphs are difficult to count without a microscope, they are probably the most accurate reflection of the infestation level. Carefully tagged leaf samples can be taken back to a laboratory for counting of nymphs if necessary.
Adults should be sampled in the early morning when they are not as active.During a SHTF situation, pain could become an annoyance for some, but unbearable for others. If doctors are scarce and medicine becomes even scarcer, this one little weed, found all over North America and similar to morphine, could be a saving grace.
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