Can biopesticides help to protect crops against whiteflies?

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Whiteflies are one of the world’s most widespread field, garden, and greenhouse insects

Whitefly control is difficult and complex as insects rapidly develop resistance to many chemical pesticides. (Image source: GROPRO)

These pale, tiny pests are very dangerous and are known for their devastating effects on most agricultural crops. Worldwide there are more than 1500 species of whiteflies, with dozens of those species causing the most trouble for agriculture.

Whiteflies bring harm not only by their feeding habits but also by transmitting almost 60 viral plant diseases. The harm that these tiny creatures bring to farmers is huge – from reduced yields to the death of plants. For greenhouses, whiteflies can be even more devastating, once inside they are protected from weather and natural enemies.

This issue is a big deal for Africa – regular outbreaks of the African cassava whitefly cause crop losses in many East and Central African countries. The most dangerous of these pests that they are causing pandemics of crop diseases – Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD) and Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD). As a result, annual losses in the region exceed US$1bn.

Whitefly control is difficult and complex as insects rapidly develop resistance to many chemical pesticides. Once established in the garden/field/greenhouse, whiteflies can be very difficult to get rid of as they breed rapidly – a single female may lay 150-300 eggs during her lifetime.

Farmers despise whiteflies because they impact the export quality of crops in a critical way. In many countries finding whiteflies in an agricultural shipment imported into the country is enough to reject the import, even if there is no damage to the crops. For example, the mulberry whitefly (Pealius mori Takashashi) is increasingly causing concern in agriculture as the distribution of this pest is expanding. In Egypt, the recent invasion and population expansion of the mulberry whitefly has caused major concern in the agriculture industry.

Today’s farmers give a lot of attention to all aspects of managing whiteflies. Their hope is that newer insecticides will help effectively get rid of these tiny but dangerous insects. Can bio insecticide be as effective as a chemical one? It is an important question for many farmers who practice sustainable agriculture and try to replace chemical crop protection products with biological ones. 

GROPRO’s portfolio includes highly effective biopesticides – Wrath, one of them, works effectively against many insects – worms, thrips, aphids, scale, whiteflies and many others. The product can be widely used on open fields and greenhouses with multiple crops such as coles, cucurbits, vines, fruit trees etc. Wrath proves that biological insecticides can be very effective – giving results with 92-98 per cent control of insects, including whiteflies.

Wrath is a broad-spectrum soft body insecticide; the overwhelming benefit is that it has a 0 PHI (pre harvest interval), so growers today do not need to pre-spray prior to harvest and apply only where and when needed. Wrath is formulated with a highly pure and effective essential oils; it is accepted as a highly refined and environmentally safe, when used as directed, as well as worker safe material.

GROPRO, a USA based producer and supplier of bio crop protection products, has recently launched into the agricultural market with a quick and steady stream of products. GROPRO combines enthusiasm and knowledge with a deep comprehension of the real-world hurdles that growers and the agricultural industry are facing today. With multiple field trials accomplished in the US and internationally GROPRO has a proven track record of delivering natural and organic materials while allowing growers to augment the conventional agrochemical products used in an integrated pest management (IPM) approach.

More info: www.groproag.com

African Farming

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