The density seasonal dynamics of Bemisia tabaci MED were evaluated over two-years in a cotton-growing area in Langfang, Hebei Province, northern China on cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) and six other, co-occurring common plants: common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.), piemarker (Abutilon theophrasti Medicus), sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.), sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.), soybean (Glycine max L.), and maize (Zea mays L.). The whitefly species identity was repeatedly tested and confirmed; seasonal dynamics on the various host plants was standardized by the quartile method. B. tabaci MED appeared on weeds (the common ragweed and piemarker) about 10 days earlier than on cotton, or the other cultivated plants. The peak population densities were observed over a span of two to three weeks on cotton, starting in early (2010) or mid- (2011) August. The common ragweed growing adjacent to cotton supported the highest B. tabaci densities (no. on 100 cm2 leaf surface), 12-22 fold higher than on cotton itself. Sunflower supported more B. tabaci than the other plants, and about 1.5-2 fold higher than cotton did. Our results indicate that weeds (esp. the common ragweed) around cotton fields could increase the population density of B. tabaci MED on cotton, while sunflower could act as a trap crop for decreasing pest pressure on cotton.
Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2014, Vol 13, Issue 10, p. 2211-2220