Research conducted by the Agricultural Research Service into controlling whiteflies on cotton may have implications for growers of other crops.
Steve Naranjo with the ARS and Peter Ellsworth with the University of Arizona conducted a study comparing a broad-spectrum insecticide with a whitefly-specific insecticide, according to a news release.
They also included an untreated check.
Initially, the whiteflies died off at the same rates in plots treated with either product.
As the season continued, they noticed that whiteflies built up in the plots treated with a broad-spectrum product and had to be retreated.
But in the plots treated with the whitefly-specific materials, natural enemies built up and controled the whiteflies.
The researchers also noticed that whiteflies tended to migrate from nearby cantaloupe fields into cotton and build up as the cantaloupe harvest winds down.
By using a product that preserves the natural enemies in cotton, the researchers say the beneficials were able to control the pests for the rest of the season.