Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Grand Exhibit Hall (Town and Country Hotel and Convention Center)
The fig whitefly, Singhiella simplex (Singh) is a recent invasive species that has become a major pest in Florida feeding on Ficus shrubs and trees. A pilot study was conducted on a weeping fig, Ficus benjamina shrub hedge to determine the efficacy and compatibility of a biopesticide (PFR 97™=Isaria fumosorosea Apopka strain) or a neonicotinoid insecticide (Admire Pro™), on the enzootic entomopathogenic fungi and natural enemies for managing the fig whitefly. Various natural enemies were identified managing the fig whitefly population infesting the weeping fig. The parasitoid, Encarsia protransvena (Viggiani) was observed parasitizing the whitefly nymphs and the lady bird beetles, Curinus coeruleus (Mulsant), and Harmonia axyridis (Pallas) were observed on the leaves of the Ficus hedge. The natural enzootic population of entomopathogenic fungi inhabiting the leaf phylloplane and infecting the fig whitefly were, Isaria fumosorosea Wize, Isaria sp., Lecanicillium sp. and Metarhizium sp.. Results suggest that both strategies were compatible with endemic natural enemies and there is much potential for using either the biopesticide, PFR 97™ as a foliar spray or the neonicotinoid, Admire Pro™ as a soil drench, in an integrated approach for managing S. simplex on Ficus species.