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Delphastus catalinae or Whitefly lady beetle is a specialized whitefly predator in the lady beetle family. This small black beetle has been used to control and eradicate almost every whitefly species of commercial importance. It’s native to Florida where its’ natural host is, Bemisia. Because of this, Delphastus will seek out and destroy any Bemisia colonies before it moves on to other species of whitefly.
Adults are tiny, 1.4 mm (1/15 inch) long, dark brown to black, hemispherical beetles; females have reddish yellow heads, lighter coloured than males. Larvae are elongated, cream coloured, covered with short fine hairs and have conspicuous legs. Eggs are yellowish ovals, laid on end, in clusters on the underside of leaves.The adult beetles fly, while larvae are slow moving and travel from plant to plant on leaves.
Delphastus is used to control whiteflies in tropical and semi-tropical plantings as well as commercial vegetable greenhouses. This predator avoids feeding on parasitized whiteflies, therefore is compatible with the use of Encarsia spp. and Eretmocerus spp. whitefly parasites. Delphastus also tends to feed in high density whitefly populations, while parasites do best at lower densities of whiteflies. Delphastus adults prefer feeding on whitefly eggs.
|Curative light||0,2-0,5||per m2||bi-weekly||3 introductions in total|
|Curative heavy||1-2||m 2||weekly||4 introductions in total|
|Hot spot||100||m 2||weekly||as needed|
Biological control as a scientific endeavor began more than 130 years ago (beginning in the 1880s).
Source : Encyclopedia of Insects (Vincent H. Resh et Ring T. Cardé, 2003)