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Pest Alert: Silverleaf Whiteflies Invade GA Cotton

August 28, 2018
This illustrated image shows silverleaf whitefly

Cotton fields in GA continue to see a rise in silverleaf whitefly populations. Scout fields for infestation, and if threshold levels are reached, apply a timely insecticide treatment. Pest Patrol entomologist Dr. Phillip Roberts provides management recommendations in his latest update.

Silverleaf whiteflies can cause widespread destruction in cotton fields and are difficult to manage once they reach high populations. Proper identification of silverleaf whiteflies is imperative, as other whitefly species don’t usually cause economic damage in cotton.

Silverleaf whiteflies are small yellowish insects with white, vertically tilted wings. They’re mostly found under leaves and fly when plants are disturbed. As a sucking insect, silverleaf whiteflies remove nutrients from cotton plants, resulting in stunting, poor growth, defoliation, boll shed and reduced yields.

As silverleaf whiteflies feed, they produce honeydew. When deposited on fibers, honeydew reduces cotton quality and interferes with picking, ginning and spinning. Honeydew has also been associated with black sooty molds that can stain lint and lower its quality.

Silverleaf whiteflies are particularly threatening because they overwinter in cole crops, ornamentals and weeds. Once these crops are harvested or destroyed, silverleaf whiteflies often migrate to nearby cotton fields. As temperatures rise, so do silverleaf whitefly populations, reaching their peak in mid- to late-summer.

The best approach for controlling silverleaf whitefly populations is an integrated pest management strategy that includes Centric® insecticide. Centric provides fast-acting, long-lasting control of yield-robbing pests such as silverleaf whiteflies. As an effective rotational product for insect resistance management, Centric consistently controls target insects in both Bt and conventional cotton.

For more pest alerts from entomologist Dr. Phillip Roberts, check out his Pest Patrol page.

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