Tip Top Bio-Control Technical Bulletin
Greenhouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum); Sweet potato whitefly (Bemisia tabaci); Silverleaf whitefly (Bemisia argentifoli); Poinsettia whitefly; woolly whitefly; Citrus whitefly; bayberry whitefly. Eretmocerus has proven to be effective when used on Greenhouse tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, eggplant crops, ornamental crops, interiorscapes and landscapes.
Eretmocerus is a parasitic wasp. This wasp is a native to the southwestern U.S. and is adapted to hot, dry climates. Eretmocerus are small wasps about .6mm (1/50 inch) long. They have a golden yellow thorax and abdomen. Males have thick antennae. Sex ratio is 50/50. Eretmocerus females lay their eggs under the nymphs of whiteflies. The eggs then hatch and the larvae penetrate and consume the whitefly. Approximately 2 weeks after the eggs are laid, parasitized whiteflies can be identified. The parasitized whitefly will be a golden color and you should see signs of a developing wasp inside the pupa. Adults should emerge within 20 days or so, leaving that distinctive little round emergence hole at one end of the whitefly pupa. Eretmocerus females will consume immature whitefly as a food source, puncturing and sucking out their body fluid. Eretmocerus will also feed on honeydew. Each female can produce 50 – 150 wasps.
Bottles of 3000 emerging Eretmocerus mixed in bran or sawdust are supplied. The material can be shaken directly onto the leaf surfaces or placed in paper cups/pouches at the bottom of the plants. Once the material is dispersed throughout the crop, it should remain there for a few days. The parasitic wasp will immediately start their work. After about 2 weeks the first parasitized pupae should be seen in the crop.
Release Rates: Release the beneficial insects as soon as possible. If storage is necessary, store at 8°-10°C (46°-50°F). Once the first whiteflies are observed, release should be done as soon as possible.
General Release: 5,000 to 20,000 per acre for the first and second week and then 2,000 a week for 3,4 & 5.
Preventative: 1-2 wasps per 10 sq. ft every 1 – 2 weeks. Curative: 2-4 wasps per 10-sq. ft. every week for 5-6 weeks. Monitor the whitefly population with yellow sticky traps.
Lifespan: Eretmocerus develops from egg to adult in about 3 weeks. Adults live for about 2 weeks. There are three larval stages, a prepupa and a pupa stage prior to adult.
Strategic Considerations: Eretmocerus are less sensitive to pesticides than Encarsia formosa. Many pesticides will have a negative effect on the development of Eretmocerus. Encarsia formosa and Eretmocerus can be used together. Avoid the use of systemic insecticides or pesticides with long residual action.