Most species of Whitefly
Encarsia formosa are tiny flying insect that parasitizes whiteflies. Adults are very small black insects about 1/20 inch long. They do not bite or sting and go virtually unnoticed. Encarsia Larva develop inside the immature whitefly scale, which darken and turn black.
Use as Biological Control:
Encarsia are used to control several species of whitefly indoors and outdoors. They can control silverleaf/sweet potato whitefly with increased quantity releases. Encarsia work best if temperatures are over 68°F and relative humidity is 50-70%. When daytime highs are regularly below 64°F Encarsia activity decreases making them less effective. Like with most beneficial insects it is best to begin releasing Encarsia when Whitefly infestation is light.
Other whitefly predators such as; Delphastus catalinae (beetle) and Eretmocerus eremicus will co-exist with Encarsia formosa and help expedite control.
Whitefly scale which are usually white will turn black or brown depending on the whitefly specie when parasitized by Encarsia
Encarsia life cycle takes approximately 28 days 70°F. Encarsia are normally all female, which lay up 10 eggs per day. Eggs are laid one egg per whitefly. Encarsia develop inside the whitefly scale for approx. 10 days, then pupate for another 10 days, then adults emerge. Adults can live up to 30 days.
Encarsia pupa are sold on hanging cards. We recommend to hang the cards on lower leaves in the shade. Avoid getting the hanging cards wet when watering.
If necessary, the Encarsia can be stored for up to 2 weeks at 40°-50°F, however immediate release is best.