beneficials against spiraling whitefly?

cattman(z10a FL)April 7, 2013

Well, two winters ago I saw what they call "spiraling whitefly" ravaging the Florida Keys while I was there for a visit. Now the little brutes have crossed the peninsula and worked their way up through SW Florida.

I have already ordered ladybugs and some tiny whitefly-killing beetle, and will let folks know how this works out. Wouldn't you know, the poor dears arrived just in time for winter's last blast of nights in the low 40s here.

If anyone's had fantastic success with predatory insects killing these whiteflies, I'd love to know about it! TIA (thanks in advance)

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Leafhead

I'm trying Green Lacewing larvae because Ladybugs scare me. Years ago, Asian Ladybugs were imported to combat pests.
But they soon started crowding out native species and they bite!!
So be careful when you order insects to battle insects. Make sure that they are indigenous to your region.
You can also order parasitic flies to combat Whitefly, but these are tiny and have to be applied carefully.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 2:49PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

According to the University of Florida these wee buggers are not that much of a problem, although they do indicate that systemics might be a better solution since they do not kill off the predators. However, current research indicates that systemic pesticides do great harm to our pollinators adding ot the problems of loss of these needed insects.

Here is a link that might be useful: Spiraling Whitefly

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 7:21AM
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cattman(z10a FL)

So it turns out that in SE Florida they've been trying for THREE YEARS to find a good natural predator for rugose spiraling whitefly! I guess if they'd found a silver bullet, we'd have heard about it by now. The agriculture peeps recommend injections of systemic for our trees (the coconuts at least), which I won't do for more reasons than just the loss of the food crop.

I see ladybugs all over the infested coconuts -- the lady bugs that I ordered and also those Asian ladybugs that must have been hanging around here already -- but even though they are supposedly predators of whitefly, I never see them do anything to the adults. They must just eat eggs or larval stage. And, I see the ladybugs drinking the honeydew secretion from the whiteflies, drinking it from the spatters on the palm leaves. So now I have less confidence than before that they'll do much good!

At least a few of the tiny whitefly beetles I ordered have survived, and they must really like something about these whiteflies because they have stuck very close to the colonies for 3 weeks now. I should see a new generation of those predator beetles hatch out any day now.

I have an order of trichogramma wasps coming, and one more order of the tiny beetle whitefly predators. If the beetles, wasps and ladybugs TOGETHER cannot do the trick, I will resort to something reasonably organic like Neem Oil. I just can't have these whiteflies keep multiplying like they are now, or I fear I might start losing palms soon. Some of my palms are much, much rarer here than coconut palms (and I don't like to see any of my plants suffer anyway).

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 9:45PM
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cattman(z10a FL)

It's been 4 weeks now since I began the whitefly battle. So far I am really discouraged. Every day I see ladybugs -- both the regular ones I ordered and the Asian ladybugs that were apparently already hanging out here. They're very active and thriving, but as near as I can tell they are mostly drinking honeydew that the whitefly are excreting onto the palm leaves! The whiteflies are absolutely thriving.

I see the eggs of some sort of predator amongst the whiteflies -- individual, white eggs, each one standing up on a tall "hair". I don't know if those are from lacewings or something else.

Supposedly the life cycle of the tiny whitefly-killing beetles I ordered is about 4 weeks. Juveniles should be hatching from the first release very soon, as I've been careful not to use any pesticides in the orchard. But if I don't see any predators mopping up whitefly in the next 2-3 weeks, I am going to have to resort to wholesale spraying. I think I'll use Neem oil.

Just to try knocking down the whitefly numbers till the good bugs could take over, I ordered some yellow sticky traps. Total waste of money!!!! They trapped small flying insects that were probably beneficial in some way, but of all the stickies I put out in the palms, only a couple of careless whiteflies got trapped. Maddening....

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 6:04AM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Those eggs on hairs are from lacewings. Sounds like they're interested.

Yellow sticky cards are used by professionals as a monitoring device: To determine when a pest arrives in the crop and how many are present.

Gardeners have a distorted view of the value of yellow sticky cards. For some reason, gardeners think the cards help manage the population by getting rid of some individual. But not so.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 12:31PM
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cattman(z10a FL)

If gardeners have a distorted view of the sticky cards, I think it's because some g-supply companies are not being super-scrupulous in their descriptions of what these cards are for! At any rate, I have relegated mine to hanging in the garage, hoping they'll snag the odd mosquito that slips in when the door is open.

When my next papaya seedlings begin to fruit, I do intend to get some plastic decorative fruit and coat it with the sticky stuff and hang it in the papayas. I bet that the fruit flies that pierce the fruits and lay their eggs inside would be attracted to the fakes if the colors are bright.

Meanwhile, I'm hoping that the lacewing babies will go to town on the whiteflies....

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 9:02PM
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