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.
Whitefly lady beetle adult is able to detect pest outbreaks and they will disperse by flying in the infected area. Delphastus can be used in combination with the parasitoid wasp Encarsia formosa as it does not eat the parasited whitefy.
This ladybug is widely used in poinsettia production in Canada. Its preventive introduction, with the parasitoid wasps Encarsia formosa or Eretmocerus eremicus, allows to maintain control throughout the duration of production..