Tobacco whitefly

Bemisia tabaci 

Adult tobacco whiteflies may be recognized at the position of their wings; they carry them in an angle as a kind of shelter. Their bodies are more obviously visible than with greenhouse whiteflies. Pupae are rather flat, translucent, yellow coloured. Adults may be recognized already within the pupa, yellow with red eyes and white proximal parts of their wings. Tobacco whitefly may be present on all parts of the plant, preference for upper plant part is less than with greenhouse whitefly. Females deposit their yellow eggs on the underside of leaves, all over the plant. First instar is the only developmental stage that is mobile; successive 2nd and 3rd instars as well as the pupal stage are immobile. Instars from tobacco whitefly differ from the ones from greenhouse whitefly; instars from tobacco whitefly are pale yellow in colour, transparent and their shape is somewhat flattened with a sloping ridge. Its pupae do have hardly any hairs. Adult tobacco whiteflies hatch from the pupae through a T-shaped exit hole. The adult tobacco whitefly is smaller that the adult greenhouse whitefly. Its wings are slightly vertical and do not overlap.

Distribution and crop damage:

Economic damage is caused by plant sap sucking and by honeydew excretion. Tobacco whitefly is known as vector of several plant viruses, such as TYLCV and CYDV. These viruses may cause serious damage in crops as tomatoes, cucumber and other greenhouse vegetables.

Lifecycle tobacco whitefly:

  • lays small, oval shaped yellow eggs on underside of leaves, all over the crop
  • first instar is mobile, 2nd and 3rd instar as well as pupal stage are immobile
  • instars differ from greenhouse whitefly instars
  • colour of instars is bright yellow, translucent; shape is somewhat flattened with a slanted ridge
  • hatching of adult through a T-shaped hole in the pupa
  • egg - adult development takes 22 days at 26oC. At lower temperature this takes far longer, 70 days at 16oC

Host plants tobacco whitefly:

  • polyphagous, on many greenhouse vegetables, a.o. tomato as well as several ornamental crops

Producten tegen tabakswittevlieg:

Delphastus catalinae:



Encarsia formosa + Eretmocerus eremicus:


Encarsia formosa:


Eretmocerus eremicus:


Amblydromalus limonicus:


Macrolophus pygmaeus:


Amblyseius swirskii: