Description, Biology, Life Cycle, Damage, Common Names, Images
This species originates from East Asia. Apparently it arrived in Italy towards the end of the 1950s. Noted in France in 1954 (Côte d'Azur).
The citrus whitefly is a polyphagous species, attacking mainly Citrus. It also lives on privet (Ligustrum), ash (Fraxinus), lilac (Syringa), Forsythia, neem (Melia), fig, persimmon (Diospyros), pomegranate (Punica), plum.
- This pest overwinters as 3rd- or 4th-instar nymphs on the underside of foliage, less frequently as eggs.
- Adults: The first adults emerge in April-May; a second emergence is observed in August, sometimes succeeded by a third towards the end of the autumn.
- Eggs are usually laid on the underside of young leaves.
- Nymphs: their number is at its maximum in May and the first ten days of June, at the end of July, in August, September and October, living on the underside of foliage.
- 2 to 4 generations per year.
- Under optimal conditions, a generation may be completed in 7 to 8 weeks. If conditions are unfavourable, development may take 6 to 7 months.
A single leaf may be infested by several hundred nymphs arising from thousands of eggs.
Citrus fruits are the most affected by this pest (*) .
In the case of severe infestation, millions of adults may move from one site to another, causing damage. The production of honeydew, which falls on the upper surface of leaves sited below, is very considerable: foliage and fruits become covered with sooty moulds.
Two entomophagous insects can be employed to control this pest, both being enemies of the nymphs: thepredator Clitosthetus arcuatus Rossi (Coccinellidae) and the chalcid (Hymenoptera) endoparasite Encarsia lahorensis, which has been introduced with success in California, Florida and Italy.
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