Pesticide-resistant Whitefly Could 'devastate' Many US Crops

Pesticide-resistant whitefly could 'devastate' many US crops

HOMESTEAD, United States,(Pakistan Point News - APP - 17th Augst,2016) - A tiny, invasive whitefly that is resistant to pesticides and carries crop-devastating viruses has been found outdoors in the United States for the first time, raising concerns among fruit and vegetable growers. The Q-biotype whitefly turned up in April in the heavily manicured gardens of an affluent neighborhood in south Florida's Palm Beach County, where landscapers were spraying the flowers and shrubs regularly with insecticides.

Its discovery outdoors comes more than a decade after it was first found in a US retail nursery in Arizona. Since 2005, the whitefly has also been found in about two dozen US states, but only in greenhouses. It is already considered a major invasive pest worldwide. Now that the Q-biotype whitefly is outdoors in the United States, researchers say it poses a serious threat to crops such as tomatoes, beans, squash, cotton and melons.

Having whiteflies outdoors makes the problem "much more difficult to control," and they may never be fully eradicated, said Lance Osborne, a professor of entomology at the University of Florida. "The resistance to pesticides -- that is what really sets them apart," he told a few dozen growers who attended a recent session to learn about the whitefly in Homestead, an agricultural area south of Miami. "The best single treatment we have kills 90-91 percent of them. That is as good as we can do without multiple applications."