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Tobacco whitefly

In countries with a mild climate, the tobacco whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) is a common pest and very difficult to eradicate. In tropical and subtropical regions the tobacco whitefly has become a severe pest. Recently the tobacco whitefly has become more prevalent in  Western Europe.


Economic damage is caused not only by feeding, but also by honeydew secretion. The tobacco whitefly is a vector of several feared plant viruses such as TYLCV and CYDV, causing huge economic damage in tomato, cucumber and other greenhouse crops.

Description and life cycle

The female tobacco whitefly deposits her small, oval shaped and yellow eggs on the underside of leaves, scattered all over the crop. The L1-larva is mobile. In the subsequent L2 and L3 larval and pupal stages, it is sessile. Larval stages of the tobacco whitefly differ from those of the greenhouse whitefly. The light yellow and transparent tobacco whitefly larva is oblate with a beveled edge. The pupa is covered with few waxy hairs. The adult tobacco whitefly emerges through a T-shaped opening. An adult tobacco whitefly is much smaller than a greenhouse whitefly, and its wings lay closely to the body and do not overlap. The development from egg to adult takes 22 days at 26°C, but can take up to 70 days at 16°C.

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