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This small black beetle has been used to control and eradicate almost every whitefly species of commercial importance, from the “Giant” whitefly on Eucalyptus in California, to Bemisia in Poinsettia. It is 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.
Greenhouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum)
Banded-winged whitefly (Trialeurodes spp.)
Sweetpotato whitefly, silverleaf whitefly (Bemisia spp.)
Woolly whitefly (Aleurothrixus floccosus)
Azalea and hibiscus whitefly (Pealius spp.)
Cloudywinged, citrus and rhododendron whitefly (Dialeurodes spp.)
Citrus blackfly (Aleurocanthus woglumi)
“Delphastus” is a specialized whitefly predator in the lady beetle family. Adults are tiny, 1/15th in. long, dark brown to black in color, and hemispherical in shape. Females have reddish-yellow heads, which are lighter than males. Larvae are elongated, cream colored, covered with short fine hairs, and have conspicuous legs. Adults will fly, while larvae are slow moving and travel from plant to plant on leaves.
Available as 100 count 30 dram vile or 1,000 count 40 dram vile.
Image provided by Applied Bio-nomics.
Use in Biological Control
Delphastus is used to control whiteflies in tropical and semi-tropical plantings as well as commercial vegetable greenhouses. Delphastus 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. Optimum conditions are moderate to high temperatures of 61-90F); Delphastus do not fly at temperatures below 55F. Delphastus do not enter diapause under short-day conditions, therefore remain active all season.
The complete life cycle takes 21-25 days at 78-86°F.Eggs are yellowish ovals, laid in clusters on the end, underside of leaves. Females lay 2-6 eggs per day, and can lay over 300 eggs in their 65 day life time. Females must eat 100-150 whitefly eggs per day to initiate and sustain egg laying. Larvae feed for 7-10 days. Older larvae migrate down the plant to pupate. Pupae are often found clustered along leaf veins on the undersides of leaves.
Adults emerge from pupae in 6 days. Adults can eat 150-640 whitefly eggs or 11 large larvae per day. A single beetle can consume as many as 10,000 whitefly eggs or 700 larvae during its lifetime. Both adults and larvae feed on whitefly eggs and immature stages. If food is scarce, they will also feed on other small arthropods, such as spider mite and aphids, and will cannibalize their own species.
For Best Results
Best results are achieved when Delphastus is used together with whitefly parasites. They do not survive in the absence of prey, therefore should be released only after whiteflies are detected. Check for Delphastus when de-leafing or pruning leaves from infested plants. Keep any leaves with Delphastus pupae in the greenhouse until adult beetles have emerged.
Introduce Delphastus in whitefly infested areas of the greenhouse as soon as whiteflies are detected.
Release at least 100 adults per whitefly “hot spot” or 10 adults per infested plant, weekly, for 3-4 weeks.
Optimum release time is in the evening the day you receive shipment. To release, gently tap the beetles out of the jar directly onto infest plants. Put no less than 10 beetles in one area to ensure proper mating. Store beetles at 55-65° F, for up to 12 hours.