Temperatures are starting to warm considerably in South Florida. Vegetable farmers need to be mindful of various insects that thrive in hot conditions.
“It’s been warming up so you kind of expect to see a flush of pests in the near future. It’s kind of hit and miss in some places with whiteflies and things,” said Craig Frey, University of Florida/IFAS Hendry County Extension Director.
Conditions are certainly favorable for insect pressure to increase. According to the US Drought Monitor, Hendry County and most of South Florida are listed as abnormally dry.
“The life cycles of the insects tend to shorten some. It’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve had cold weather. Instead of it being moderate for a little while, it’s been pretty hot,” Frey said. “They’re just reproducing quickly and starting to become more of an issue in different areas.”
“Pepper weevils, definitely, if you’re growing peppers; whiteflies for a lot of different things. They can be an issue on beans, even. Thrips are an issue on beans and tomatoes. Really, thrips and whiteflies on most crops. They’re two of the big ones.”