Whitefly: potato and cabbage pest in Indonesia and Western Australia

Page last updated: Friday, 3 July 2020 - 12:25pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.


Whitefly may be present on weeds so keep the area around crops free of weeds.

Check crops for whitefly during weekly pest monitoring.

Whitefly will cause damage only when present in high numbers.

Several species of whitefly can be pests in potato and cabbage crops. Some of these have a reputation for developing resistance to insecticides so careful consideration is required as to whether infestations require insecticide use and whether natural enemies may control an infestation.

If insecticides are used, delay or avoid insecticide resistance by alternating insecticides with different modes of action.

Natural enemies of whitefly include wasp parasitoids, and predators such as lacewing larvae, ladybird beetles, hover flies, mites and spiders.

This wasp is a natural enemy of whiteflies
This wasp is a natural enemy of whiteflies
Green lacewing adults are about 15mm long, green and have reflective green/brown eyes. They feed on nectar and pollen. Their larvae are predators of whitefly
Green lacewing adult
Green lacewing larvae feed on whitefly as well as other small insects or eggs. They place dried chewed prey on their back
Green lacewing larva
Predatory ladybird adult beetle which is orange with black spots and its egg mass of yellow eggs laid upright. The adult beetle and its larvae fed on whitefly nymphs
Ladybird adult and yellow egg mass next to whitefly nymphs

If whitefly numbers are high enough to cause crop wilting, insecticides should be applied. A range of contact, systemic and growth regulator insecticides will control whitefly and more than one application may be required to control heavy infestations.


Funding for this work to support Indonesian potato farmers and WA seed potato exports was provided by ACIAR (the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research) and the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia.

Contact information

Stewart Learmonth
+61 (0)8 9777 0167

Whitefly: potato and cabbage pest in Indonesia and Western Australia


Stewart Learmonth