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Sugarcane whitefly (245) Print Fact Sheet

Common Name

 Sugarcane whitefly

Scientific Name

Neomaskellia bergii


Widespread. Asia, Africa, Oceania. It has been recorded from Fiji, French Polynesia, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Niue, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu. It is present in New Caledonia on maize.


Sugarcane, bamboo, and several sorghum and grass species.

Symptoms & Life Cycle

The nymphs are brown and oval (Photo 1), and the adults have black bands on the wings, and are arrow-shaped when at rest (Photo 2). The eggs (Photo 3), nymphs and adults are found on the underside of the leaves, often in large numbers. Ants are often found in association with the whitefly colonies (Photo 4); they come in search of honeydew.


The whitefly is a minor pest of sugarcane.

Detection & Inspection

Look for the arrow-shaped adults, often with ants in attendance.


Several tiny wasp parasites, Encarsia and Eretmocerus species, as well as ladybird beetle predators attack the whitefly.

Because of the presence of natural enemies, it is very unlikely that the whitefly will need to be managed in any other way.

Note that ants may need to be removed if the natural enemies are to be effective in controlling whitefly populations. The presence of parasitoids should be checked. Look to see if the papae have holes in them, a sign that parasitoids are present. In this case, avoid the use of insecticides, unless the infestation continues to spread.

It is unlikely that chemical control will be needed against the sugarcane whitefly.

AUTHOR Grahame Jackson
Information from Evans GA (2007) The whiteflies (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) of the world and the host plants and natural enemies USDA/APHIS. Version 070606. Photos 1-3 National Bureau of Agricultural Insect Resources, ICAR, India.

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project PC/2010/090: Strengthening integrated crop management research in the Pacific Islands in support of sustainable intensification of high-value crop production, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

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