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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Biologically Based Management of Invasive Insect Pests and Weeds

Location: Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research Unit

Title: Ladybeetle predator, Delphastus catalinae, may control new invasive pest of Florida

Author
item Legaspi, Jesusa

Submitted to: FAMU-CESTA-CBC Newsletter
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2013
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Ficus Whitefly (Singhiella simplex) was first reported in Miami-Dade County in August 2007. Since then, the whitefly has been found throughout southern Florida, as well as along both coasts of Florida up to central Florida. This invasive pest causes infested plants to exhibit leaf yellowing, followed by leaf drop. The whitefly is a pest of many species of Ficus plants with horticultural and ornamental value. Little information is known of the ficus whitefly biology and its potential to be controlled by natural enemies currently present in Florida. We studied the development and reproduction of this whitefly species under different constant temperatures. We found that the whiteflies will not develop at temperatures below 7 oC and will not survive at 46 oC. The whitefly females laid the highest numbers of eggs at 27 oC. The ficus whitefly adults lived an average of 3 days at 27 oC . We also evaluated the predation rates of the ladybeetle predator, Delphastus catalinae (adults and larvae) presented three life stages of ficus whitefly: eggs, small nymphs (2nd-3rd instars), and large nymphs (4th instar-pupae). We found that both adult and immature D. catalinae preyed on substantially more eggs than the small or large nymphs of the ficus whitefly in a 24-hr feeding period. Results from these studies suggest that this ladybeetle predator is a promising biological control agent and can be used to develop future management strategies.

Technical Abstract: Ficus Whitefly (Singhiella simplex) was first reported in Miami-Dade County in August 2007. Since then, the whitefly has been found throughout southern Florida, as well as along both coasts of Florida up to central Florida. This invasive pest causes infested plants to exhibit leaf yellowing, followed by leaf drop. The whitefly is a pest of many species of Ficus plants with horticultural and ornamental value. Little information is known of the ficus whitefly biology and its potential to be controlled by natural enemies currently present in Florida. We studied the development and reproduction of this whitefly species under different constant temperatures. We found that the whiteflies will not develop at temperatures below 7 oC and will not survive at 46 oC. The whitefly females laid the highest numbers of eggs at 27 oC. The ficus whitefly adults lived an average of 3 days at 27 oC . We also evaluated the predation rates of the ladybeetle predator, Delphastus catalinae (adults and larvae) presented three life stages of ficus whitefly: eggs, small nymphs (2nd-3rd instars), and large nymphs (4th instar-pupae). We found that both adult and immature D. catalinae preyed on substantially more eggs than the small or large nymphs of the ficus whitefly in a 24-hr feeding period. Results from these studies suggest that this ladybeetle predator is a promising biological control agent and can be used to develop future management strategies.

Last Modified: 10/31/2014
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