Field experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of cover cropping and intercropping on population densities of silverleaf whitefly, Bemisia argentifolli Bellow and Perring, and the incidence of squash silverleaf disorder (SSL) in zucchini, Cucurbita pepo L., in Oahu, HI. Two cover crops, buckwheat (BW), Fagopyrum esculentum Moench, and white clover (WC), Trifolium repens L., or sunn hemp (SH), Crotolaria juncea L., and an intercropped vegetable, okra, Abelmonchus esculentus L., were evaluated during the 2003, 2005, and 2006 growing seasons, respectively. Population densities of whiteflies and SSL severity varied during the three field experiments. In 2003, the severity of SSL and percentage of leaves displaying symptoms were significantly lower on zucchini plants in WC than BW plots throughout the crops' growth cycle. Additionally, the percentage of leaves per plant displaying SSL symptoms was significantly greater in bare-ground (BG) compared with the pooled BW and WC treatments on each inspection date. In 2005, zucchini intercropped with okra had lower numbers of adult whiteflies and resulted in significantly lower severity of SSL than pooled BW and WC treatments. During 2006, zucchini grown with SH had significantly lower numbers of all whitefly stages (i.e., egg, immature, and adult) and less SSL severity symptoms than BW. Despite these differences in whitefly numbers and SSL severity, marketable yields were not significantly lower in BW compared with WC or SH treatment plots during the study. The mechanisms underlying these results and the feasibility of using cover crops and intercrops to manage B. argentifolli and SSL are discussed.
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