Small sap-sucking insects called whiteflies have the potential to harm sugarcane plantations seriously. These insects are frequently observed on the undersides of leaves. They are known for their quick reproduction, which can result in significant infestations that can weaken or even destroy the plant.
Bemisia tabaci and Aleurotrachelus socialis are the two most prevalent whitefly species that harm sugarcane. In sugarcane trees, these whiteflies can result in leaf yellowing, stunted development, and decreased yield.
To manage crop damage, whitefly infestations in sugarcane fields must be controlled. Biological and chemical pesticides, as well as cultural practices, can help farmers tackle this pest. This article aims to help sugarcane farmers avoid Whitefly infestations and keep their crops healthy by providing useful insight into these management methods.
Whiteflies Management in Sugarcane
Life Cycle of Whiteflies
- In sugarcane, the female whitefly starts the life cycle by depositing a row of yellowish eggs on the underside of the leaves. After laying out for a prolonged period, the eggs will turn completely black.
- When the eggs develop into immature nymphs, they are pale golden. Still, they eventually mature into shiny black creatures with waxy fringes around them.
- During the pupal stage, also known as the fourth instar, the insect grows marginally in size, turns a drab gray color, and acquires a white ‘T’ shaped marking on its thorax.
- The mark breaks apart as the adult emerges. The wings of adult whiteflies are hyaline and coated in a waxy bloom; their bodies are a pale yellow.
Host range: Whiteflies are a polyphagous group of insects that can infest a wide variety of crops, including vegetables (tomato, cucumber, pepper), fruits (citrus, grapes, melons), ornamental plants (hibiscus, poinsettia), and field crops (corn, soybeans, wheat). (cotton, soybean). Additionally, they infest sugarcane, tobacco, and numerous other plant species.
Identification of Whiteflies in Sugarcane in the Field
- It is possible to identify whiteflies in sugarcane fields by examining the plants. Whiteflies are typically found feeding on plant sap on the undersides of foliage.
- Infested leaves may turn yellow and wilt, and whitefly honeydew can attract insects and promote the development of black sooty mold.
- The presence of whiteflies in sugarcane fields can be confirmed by examining the leaves for the presence of small, winged insects and their larvae, as well as the mentioned symptoms.
Damage Symptoms of Whiteflies in Sugarcane
- The yellowing of foliage can eventually result in leaf loss.
- The leaves can progressively turn pinkish or purple and dry out.
- Due to whitefly nymphs, infested foliage may appear white and have black dots, which are their excrement.
- Whitefly infestations can severely cause stunted growth, decreased yield, and even plant death.
- Whitefly honeydew can attract insects and promote the growth of black sooty mold, further harming the plant.