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About Whitefly

Context

Recently, the Rugose Spiralling Whitefly, which attacks palms, coconuts, and bananas, has been spotted in Pune city.

Relevance:

GS III: Agriculture

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Whitefly
  2. Attack Mechanism of Whitefly
  3. Effects on Coconut Production:

About Whitefly:

  • Winged insects with soft bodies, closely related to aphids.
  • Tiny, sap-sucking pests that can proliferate in vegetable and ornamental plantings, especially in warm weather.
  • Originally found in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico, and has spread to 22 other countries in Central and South America.
  • Mainly infests coconut palms and other broad-leaved hosts in its native range.
  • Considered an invasive insect species.

Attack Mechanism of Whitefly:

  • Whiteflies initially target the lower leaves of coconut palms.
  • They extract sap from the underside of the leaf, resulting in the secretion of honeydew.
  • The honeydew settles on the upper surface of the adjacent lower leaf.
  • The presence of honeydew promotes the growth of black, sooty mold.
  • Sooty mold is a secondary infection caused by the whitefly infestation.
  • The impact on coconut production is severe.
  • Reduction in coconut size and decrease in water content are observed.

Effects on Coconut Production:

  • Whiteflies have a detrimental effect on coconut crops.
  • Reduction in coconut size and quality.
  • Decrease in the water content of coconuts.
  • Serious implications for coconut yield and production.

-Source: Indian Express


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