Whitefly and Diamondback Moth Management in South Florida

Karla Arboleda Pests, Top Posts, Vegetables

By Karla Arboleda

Researchers at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) are looking into products that are effective against whiteflies and diamondback moths in South Florida.

Hugh Smith, vegetable entomologist at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center (GCREC), works to apply information growers share about their experiences toward better insect management in crops.

“Some testing we’ve been doing (is) with insecticides on whiteflies that we’re collecting from across South Florida,” Smith explains.

Smith and his team treat cotton with several key insecticides. They place samples in petri dishes with whiteflies to get a broader understanding of mortality over time and which insecticides work best against whiteflies.

“We’ve seen really good results with dinotefuran, which is Venom, and a closely related product which is Sivanto Prime,” Smith said about the Group 4 insecticides. “We saw reasonable results with Exirel and pretty good results with Platinum.”

As for diamondback moths, Smith has determined results from a few different insecticides.

“We have seen that the Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) products are really … specific to caterpillars,” he says, adding that those microbial insecticides are soft on beneficial pests and have no impact on pollinators. Smith has seen good results from other diamides, including Proclaim, which is a Group 6 insecticide.

In the end, whiteflies and diamondback moths will probably continue to be found throughout Florida, with the latter being less common in comparison. Smith reports that mostly cabbage growers tend to call him about the pest (specify which one).

“(Whiteflies) have a very broad host range in terms of vegetables, ornamentals and Florida crops,” Smith explains. “Diamondbacks only develop on cole crops.”

Growers can learn more about this research at the upcoming Florida Ag Expo (FAE)! View the agenda here.

The 2019 FAE will take place Nov. 21 at the UF/IFAS GCREC in Balm. Registration is open! All preregistered growers will automatically be entered for a chance to win a John Deere gun safe courtesy of Everglades Equipment Group. Find out more about FAE on FloridaAgExpo.net.

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