Bemisia tabaci MEAM1 (Gennadius), the sweetpotato whitefly, transmits Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV), which causes significant yield losses annually in Florida and other tomato-producing regions. Field trials were carried out at the University of Florida's Gulf Coast Research and Education Center to evaluate integration of plastic mulch type, at-plant insecticide, and tomato variety for management of the sweetpotato whitefly and TYLCV. The tomato varieties Charger, Rally, and Tygress had significantly lower season-long densities of whitefly eggs and nymphs than Florida-47 in one or more trials. Aggressive chemical control measures failed to reduce virus incidence in two of the three trials and did not improve yield. In 2013, when virus pressure was extremely high, yield in the susceptible variety was decimated, but virus-tolerant varieties produced a crop. Egg and nymph densities tended to be lowest onTYLCV-tolerant varieties and on tomato grown on metalized mulch. Differences in yield were primarily due to tomato variety and TYLCV incidence. Intensive insecticide use common in Florida tomato production may reduce losses when viral pressure is moderate, but not when migration of viruliferous whiteflies into the field is constant. Without significant winter freezes or a coordinated host-free period to reduce whitefly populations, insecticidal control and repellent-metalized mulches will offer limited protection compared with genetic tolerance to the virus, which may also be overcome under high virus pressure.
host plant resistance