Relationship of Silverleaf Whitefly Population Density to Severity of Irregular Ripening of Tomato

in HortScience
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  • 1 Gulf Coast Research & Education Center, 5007 60th Street East, Bradenton, FL 34203

The silverleaf whitefly (Bemisia argentifolii Bellows & Perring) is an important pest of tomatoes in Florida and elsewhere. Associated with populations of the whitefly is an irregular ripening disorder of fruit characterized by inhibited or incomplete ripening of longitudinal sections of fruit and by an increase in the amount of interior white tissue. Experiments were conducted during the spring and fall tomato production seasons of 1995 and 1996 to elucidate the relationship of nymphal and pupal density with severity of the disorder. Insecticides or insecticide combinations were applied at predetermined densities of whitefly nymphs and pupae and the subsequent severity of the disorder was rated separately for external and internal symptoms on red ripe fruit harvested weekly. Expression of irregular ripening symptoms, especially external symptoms, were correlated positively to the density of whitefly nymphs and pupae (number·10-1 terminal leaflets on the seventh to eighth leaf from the top of a main or lateral stem) increased. Expression of external symptoms tended to be better correlated with whitefly density when symptom severity was rated 1 and 3 weeks after estimating whitefly density for the spring and fall seasons, respectively. Expression of internal symptoms tended to be more consistently correlated with whitefly density when symptom severity was rated 2 and 3 weeks after estimating whitefly density for the spring and fall seasons, respectively.

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