Life cycle of whitefly
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Whiteflies form a major threat for many vegetable and ornamental crops. The adults can be recognized by their waxy wings. Whiteflies have well developed needle-like mouthparts. They extract sap from the underside of plant leaves and secrete honeydew. This honeydew, in turn, is a nutrient source for sooty moulds. The female lays her eggs on the underside of young leaves. If she has not yet mated, all of the eggs will develop into males. The eggs have a white/yellowish colour, are oblong shaped and are often deposited in circles. After one or two days, they become darker in colour. The nymphs that emerge from the eggs are known as ‘crawlers’. Crawlers move around for several hours before settling on the leaf. They moult into their second stage and become immobile. The nymph starts to feed and begins to produce honeydew. Two further stages will follow. The nymph is flat at first, later changing into an oval, box-shaped pupa with hairs. Eventually the adult emerges. Soon after emerging, wax is secreted over the entire body. Adults immediately begin to penetrate the leaf with their mouth parts to feed on plant sap.