Seasonal population dynamics of the silverleaf whitefly, Bemisia argentifolii Bellows & Perring [formerly known as the sweetpotato whitefly, B. tabaci (Gennadius) Biotype “B”], was investigated on collard (Brassica oleracea L. variety acephala) during spring 1998 and 1999 in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Yield loss caused by whitefly was determined by using insecticides to suppress whitefly populations to a low level. Although B. argentifolii populations of adults and immatures fluctuated greatly from April to June during the two seasons, the relative values were similar. Adult whiteflies first appeared on the plants in early April, increased rapidly within the month, peaked in May, and declined at the end of the season in early or mid-June. Whitefly eggs appeared on plants soon after adults were found, but high numbers of eggs were observed on foliage until late May 1998 and mid- and late May 1999. Nymphs and pupae increased slowly before June 1998 and increased early in May 1999. Whitefly population levels appeared to be positively associated with the availability and the growth of host plants until plant maturation, afterward being negatively related with plant quality in the late season. Temperature, rainfall, and natural enemies were not key factors in regulating population dynamics during the two seasons. Collard plants with heavy infestations of whiteflies were unmarketable because of the damage caused by honeydew and sooty mold on the foliage. Application of a combination of fenpropathrin (Danitol) and acephate (Orthene) not only significantly reduced the whitefly infestation levels but also reduced plant foliar damage, resulting in marketable foliage with six to seven times greater yield and higher quality compared with the untreated plants.
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Vol. 93 • No. 3