The greenhouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum) and the tobacco whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) are familiar pests in the vegetable and ornamental plant sectors. These sucking insects can cause serious damage to the crop and can build up resistance quickly. The honeydew secreted can attract bacteria and fungi. Furthermore, honeydew results in production loss and visual damage to leaves and fruit.
The whitefly has six stages: egg, four larval stages (L1 - L4) and adult. The whitefly lays its eggs in a circle, by pricking its snout (sucking action) in the leaf cells. The final larval stage (L4) is a pupal stage, which is often found on mature leaves. The eggs and stages L1 and L2 are usually found in young leaves.
- Secreted honeydew attracts bacteria and fungi.
- Secreted honeydew leads to damage to leaves and fruit and reduces the process of photosynthesis.
- Growth is retarded due to the sucking damage.