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White fly

Plant parasites are insects that feed exclusively on plant species. This parasitic activity can be practiced by both larvae and adult insects. The so-called “white fly” is one of the most feared plant parasites. The name of this insect derives from its extraordinary resemblance to the black fly and from the color of its wings, white as snow, even if the two species belong to different orders of insects. The white flyattacks different varieties of plants. In recent years this parasite has become even more aggressive because it has developed a particular form of natural adaptation that leads it to feed indifferently on different plants. For this characteristic it is also called polyphagus, as opposed to olifago which indicates a parasite specialized in attacking only certain species of plants. Initially, whiteflies were oliphagous, then, with the progressive increase in temperatures and the spread of crops in greenhouses, where particular conditions of heat and humidity are created, they became polyphagous, acquiring the ability to feed on any species, with serious damage to large-scale crops.

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The white flyit is an insect native to subtropical countries, but there are also species from temperate zones. The insect belongs to the Aleyrodidae family and includes several species of insects, with different parasitic abilities. The other common name of white flies, also called whiteflies, derives from the scientific name of the family to which they belong. The insect prefers both outdoor plants and greenhouse crops. It does not even disdain the species belonging to the angiosperms, that is the flowering plants that notoriously decorate our balconies and our gardens. The ability of the whitefly to parasitize almost all plants derives precisely from the development of polyphagia, which we mentioned in the previous paragraph. The adult insect is very small, usually no more than two and a half millimeters. The back is covered with white wings, while the body is yellow. Morphologically, the white fly is similar to the common black flies, but in reality they are two completely different insects. The latter belong to the order of Diptera and in the larval stage they have the appearance of a white worm, while the whitefly is classified in the same order as the aphids. The larval stage of this insect is that of the neanide, a larva with an oval body, transparent and with very small legs. The parasitic activity is carried out both by the larvae and by the adult insect. The latter belong to the order of Diptera and in the larval stage they have the appearance of a white worm, while the whitefly is classified in the same order as the aphids. The larval stage of this insect is that of the neanide, a larva with an oval body, transparent and with very small legs. The parasitic activity is carried out both by the larvae and by the adult insect. The latter belong to the order of Diptera and in the larval stage they have the appearance of a white worm, while the whitefly is classified in the same order as the aphids. The larval stage of this insect is that of the neanide, a larva with an oval body, transparent and with very small legs. The parasitic activity is carried out both by the larvae and by the adult insect.

Plants affected


Whiteflies can infest any type of plant. They prefer both those in greenhouses and those outdoors. To be attacked by the whitefly are, indifferently, plants destined for agricultural production and ornamental plants. Among the former we remember legumes, nightshades, melons, cabbages, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, figs and citrus fruits. Among the latter, dahlia, rhododentro, primrose, honeysuckle and azalea.

Dangerousness


There are several species of whitefly. Those of temperate areas are the least dangerous, while the subtropical ones have a high infestation capacity. The spread of the subtropical whitefly in our crops was due to the progressive increases in temperature and humidity, which created a favorable environment for the reproduction of this insect. Citrus fruits, for example, are affected by a species of whitefly called flaccosa, from the scientific name of the insect, Aleurothrixus floccosus. In greenhouse crops, on the other hand, another formidable species of whitefly, belonging to the genus Trialeurodes vaporarium, also known as the “greenhouse whitefly”, finds its ideal habitat.

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