New Machine to Control Whiteflies in Tomato Greenhouses

Jenn Hoskins
17th May, 2024

New Machine to Control Whiteflies in Tomato Greenhouses

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • A new suction machine was tested in greenhouses to control whiteflies on tomato plants
  • The machine uses ultrasonic vibrations and green lights to attract and capture whiteflies effectively
  • The study showed a significant reduction in whitefly populations without using chemical pesticides
The sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci, is a significant pest for tomato plants and other crops, notorious for its resistance to many chemical pesticides. This resistance has driven the need for alternative pest control methods. A recent study conducted by the Shizuoka Prefectural Research Institute of Agriculture and Forestry evaluated a novel pest suction machine designed to manage whiteflies on tomato plants in greenhouses over two seasons[1]. The newly designed suction machine consists of a battery-powered cart equipped with a suction unit, an ultrasonic device, and green lights. The ultrasonic irradiation induces non-contact vibrations that encourage adult whiteflies to move away from the plants, while the green lights attract them towards the suction device. This combination allows the machine to capture whitefly adults effectively, even with a weak suction force, thereby conserving electricity. To assess the efficacy of the suction machine, researchers measured the number of whitefly adults caught by the machine and the number of adults and nymphs remaining on the tomato leaves. The results showed a significant reduction in the whitefly population in the treated blocks compared to the non-treated blocks during the autumn trial. This suggests that the suction machine can effectively reduce the density of whitefly adults without relying on chemical pesticides, presenting a promising alternative for integrated pest management in greenhouse tomato cultivation. The findings of this study build upon earlier research on whitefly behavior and control. For instance, previous studies have shown that whiteflies are attracted to certain colors, particularly lime green, yellow, and spring green, which resemble the spectral reflectance of the abaxial surfaces of green cotton leaves[2]. The use of green lights in the suction machine leverages this knowledge to enhance the attraction of whiteflies to the device, thereby improving its efficacy. Additionally, the study's results are consistent with earlier research on the interaction between plants, whiteflies, and begomoviruses. It has been established that begomoviruses, transmitted by whiteflies, can manipulate plant traits to increase whitefly performance[3]. By reducing the whitefly population, the suction machine may also help mitigate the spread of these viruses, providing dual benefits for crop health. The study also aligns with findings on the transmission dynamics of begomoviruses by whiteflies. Begomoviruses are acquired by whiteflies from the plant phloem and transported through the insect's body to the salivary glands, where they are secreted back into the plants[4]. By capturing and reducing the number of whiteflies, the suction machine can potentially interrupt this transmission cycle, further protecting the crops from viral infections. In conclusion, the study conducted by the Shizuoka Prefectural Research Institute of Agriculture and Forestry demonstrates the potential of a novel suction machine to manage whitefly populations in greenhouse tomato plants effectively. The machine's design, which incorporates ultrasonic irradiation and green lights, successfully captures whiteflies while conserving energy. This approach provides a valuable alternative to chemical pesticides and can be integrated into broader pest management strategies. The study's findings are supported by previous research on whitefly behavior and plant-virus interactions, highlighting the machine's potential to improve crop health and yield.

AgricultureBiochemPlant Science


Main Study

1) A new pest suction machine to control Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) in tomato greenhouses.

Published 17th May, 2024

Related Studies

2) Use of CC traps with different trap base colors for silverleaf whiteflies (Homoptera: Aleyrodidae), thrips (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), and leafhoppers (Homoptera: Cicadellidae).

Journal: Journal of economic entomology, Issue: Vol 93, Issue 4, Aug 2000

3) Coinfection by Two Begomoviruses Aggravates Plant Symptoms But Does Not Influence the Performance and Preference of Insect Vector Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae).

4) A review of the mechanisms and components that determine the transmission efficiency of Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (Geminiviridae; Begomovirus) by its whitefly vector.

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