Virginia Tech scientists discover Indonesian insect pest

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Virginia Tech scientists discover Indonesian insect pest

A group of scientists from U.S. university Virginia Tech have discovered a giant whitefly in Indonesia that has the potential to destroy Asian crops, according to website

The story reported that scientist Rangaswamy Muniappan spotted the pest on a poinsettia plant on the island of Java, leaving 'sooty black mold' on plant leaves.

The story said the giant whitefly sucks sap from plants, leaving honeydew which eventually kills them

“Our concern is that the giant whitefly may spread to the rest of the islands in Indonesia and also to other neighboring countries in southeastern Asia and South Asia,” he was quoted as saying.

Muniappan has called for biologial control by introducing enemies of the giant whitefly, such as parastic wasps Idioporus affinis and Encarsiella noyesii, which already exist in the U.S.

“Scientists in countries to which the giant whitefly has not yet spread should be taking preventive measures such as informing the public and alerting quarantine officials to avoid serious economic damage,” he was quoted as saying.



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