Silverleaf Whitefly

Silverleaf Whitefly

A one-sixteenth inch long Silverleaf whitefly, Bemisia argentifolii.

Several species of whiteflies may infest peppers. Silverleaf whitefly is also known as sweetpotato whitefly B biotype. Proper identification of silverleaf whiteflies and greenhouse whiteflies is important because other whitefly species do not cause economic damage in pepper. Use a hand lens to examine both immatures and adults. Whitefly adults are tiny (0.06 inch, 1.5 mm long), yellowish insects with white wings. Silverleaf whiteflies hold their wings somewhat vertically tilted, or rooflike, over the body; the wings do not meet over the back but have a small space separating them. Greenhouse whitefly adults are very similar in appearance to the silverleaf whitefly but hold their wings flatter over the back and there is no space between the wings where they meet in the center of the back.

Whiteflies damage peppers by sucking enormous quantities of sap and covering plants with sticky honeydew. Black sooty mold grows over the honeydew, lowering the photosynthetic capacity of the plant and making the fruit unattractive. Feeding by high populations may result in stunting, poor growth, defoliation, and reduced yields.

Resource: Pest Management Guidelines, University of California


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