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The Tehran Municipality is taking several measures to combat whiteflies, such as attaching sticky yellow papers on trees to trap the insects.
The Tehran Municipality is taking several measures to combat whiteflies, such as attaching sticky yellow papers on trees to trap the insects.

TM Ups the Ante as Whiteflies Return

Up until last week, the number of whiteflies was at its lowest ever since they first swarmed across Tehran two years ago
The lack of a natural predator and flora favored by the insects has helped them thrive in Tehran

TM Ups the Ante as Whiteflies Return

Tehran Municipality has intensified measures to combat whiteflies, as the irritating insects return to the Iranian capital, according to Tehran’s top environment official.
Speaking to ISNA, Mohammad Hossein Bazgir, the head of Tehran’s Department of Environment, said the municipality has taken new and more serious measures to control the annoying but harmless flies.  
Whiteflies have been a nuisance for Tehranis every summer for the past few years, although they do not pose any health risks to humans.
Up until last week, the number of whiteflies was at its lowest ever since they first swarmed across Tehran two years ago and the TM was credited for keeping whiteflies at bay. However, the insects are now staging a comeback.
These sap feeders reduce the overall vigor of plants with their feeding. As infestations become severe, they cause plants to yellow and lose their leaves prematurely.
Whiteflies also produce large amounts of sticky, sugary honeydew, which in turn is colonized by black sooty mold, reducing the attractiveness and marketability of whitefly-infested crops.
These flies transmit over a hundred plant viruses, but the genus found in Tehran—called Aleuroclava, is a newly-discovered type that does not carry plant viruses.
Bazgir said the Iranian Research Institute of Plant Protection has studied the insect’s biology, including its life cycle, and outlined practical ways of controlling their numbers.
“We are waiting for the result of the studies to devise the most effective and efficient way out of the problem,” he said.
The institute declared that a lot more research is needed.
While the precise source of the pest problem is still unknown, some have attributed the rise in their numbers to global warming, while others have suggested that the bugs may have piggybacked to Tehran on imported plants or fruit.
Experts say the lack of a natural predator and flora favored by the insects has helped them thrive in Tehran.
To control their population without endangering public health, the organization began employing a method known as integrated pest management about a year ago.
The University of California, a leader in IPM, defines the method as an eco-friendly strategy that focuses on long-term prevention of pests or their damage through a combination of techniques such as biological control, habitat manipulation and modification of cultural practices.

 

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