Friday, 27 November 2015

Problem Area - Plant Pests - Glasshouse Whitefly!

Good Morning!
Welcome to my next post related to Problem Areas. Currently I am focusing on Pests!
What exactly is a Plant Pest? 
A Plant Pest gains it's nutritional requirements from the host plant it feeds upon. 
There are various ways which it can gain it's sustenance but broadly speaking it either eats or sucks a plant's sap.
It's a good idea to take note of a pests life cycle as they are more vulnerable at certain stages.

As the name suggests this pest is most commonly found under glass, although they can be found on plants outside. If left untreated this pest can cause havoc to your plants and is pretty common in all of our gardens.

Photo from RHS.

The Glasshouse Whitefly can breed continuously under cover, the eggs can develop into adults within 3 weeks, a little longer in the Winter. They prefer warm conditions which is why they are most prevalent under cover. 

Damage from this pest to our plants is caused by their piercing mouthparts which withdraw large quantities of sap from plants. This causes mottling to the foliage, yellow discolouration and wilting. If the pest is left to breed and form large quantities the affected plants may be killed.
The pest can also produce a sticky substance on the host plant which can help us gardeners identify them.
Plants that are more susceptible than others are Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Primulas, Dahlia's, Chrysanthemums and Calceolaria (Ladys Purse).

Photo from Google.

If like me you like to garden Organically there are a few things you can do -
* Maintaining good plant hygiene by removing any affected foliage straight away
* Hanging Yellow Sticky Traps under glass - please note that this can however catch the good guys along with the pests.
* Constant checking of plants to remove the pest at first sight

* Biological control can be gained by the introduction of a parasitic wasp (these can be purchased via mail order) at first indication of the pest.

There is also Chemical control available.

I hope you have found this interesting and helpful if any of you come across this particular pest!

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