High Tunnel Melon and Watermelon Production
Whiteflies are late-season pests of high tunnel melons.
Greenhouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum (Westwood)) is the most common
whitefly species that can infest high tunnel melons and watermelons. Whiteflies
are small (1/16 inch long), soft-bodied insects with wings covered with white,
powdery wax. Whiteflies damage plants by sucking the sap and transmitting
harmful viruses. Much like aphids, they excrete honeydew, which develops
into sooty mold on the vines and fruit. In the central Midwest, whiteflies can
appear within the high tunnel in late summer. Scout plants regularly, and
check the underside of the leaves of new foliage for whitefly adults (Figure
20). Yellow sticky traps are useful in detecting whitefly population levels
in the high tunnel. Natural enemies of whitefly include a parasitic wasp
(Encarsio formosa), and Delphastus beetles (Delphastus catalinae). Several biological
and soft pesticides are labeled for control of whitefly.
M173, new February 2006