Pest Control

Pest control

Michelle Powell and Dr Andrew Cuthbertson explain how plant scientists must rapidly distinguish between different types of morphologically identical whitefly in order to protect UK crops

The Biologist Vol 60(2) p18-21

The sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci, causes significant damage to ornamental and protected crops worldwide (Nomikou et al., 2001). While not established in the UK, its appearance poses a continual threat to our protected vegetable crops as it transmits several plant- pathogenic viruses.

At least 24 different ‘biotypes’ of B. tabaci have been recognised, some showing greater resistance to insecticides, others being more aggressive colonisers. These cannot be differentiated through morphological traits and as such the ability to rapidly and precisely identify B. tabaci biotypes is vital when developing effective control strategies...

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