As a major pest of greenhouse environments, the common whitefly Trialeurodes vaporariorum can cause significant damage in many fruit, vegetable and ornamental crops. The feeding action and secretions produced by the whitefly can transmit viruses and fungi into the plant that prevent it from proper functioning.
Whiteflies feed by inserting a proboscis into the leaf and piercing the plant phloem. The feeding and associated diseases can result in growth stunting or discolouration of the plant due to the physiological stress caused by the pest.
Whiteflies will mature through six life stages which begins with the egg, first, second, third and fourth larval stage, pupae and adult. The eggs are deposited by the female into the epidermal cells on the lower leaf surface, often in a circular formation. The final nymph stage will begin feeding through insertion of the proboscis into the leaf phloem. Once they have located a suitable feeding location, the pest will remain immobile until they reach adulthood.