Whitefly Populations Increasing Across South Florida

Clint ThompsonFlorida

Vegetable farmers should be aware that whitefly populations are increasing across South Florida, according to the South Florida Pest and Disease Hotline.

Graphic courtesy of South Florida Pest and Disease Hotline.

Scouts are reporting medium to high levels in watermelon, eggplant, tomatoes and brassicas across Southeast Florida. All life stages of the insect are present. Following the late fall tomato crop, scouts noticed an increase in younger plantings as well.

Populations are reported at moderate levels along the east coast. They are increasing in watermelon, cabbage, broccoli and lettuce crops.

Dak Seal, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences entomologist, and other scouts observed an increase in whitefly infestations in Homestead, Florida. There are low levels of populations in pepper, low to medium levels in eggplant and cabbage, medium levels in beans and medium to high levels in squash. Scouts also reported more mosaic virus in squash, potentially due to whitefly activity.

Source: South Florida Pest and Disease Hotline