People, Environment

TM Committed to Combating Whiteflies

TM Committed to Combating WhitefliesTM Committed to Combating Whiteflies

To combat whiteflies, which have besieged the Iranian capital of Tehran for the past three years, all control measures were taken last winter to take effect in the upcoming summer, said the head of Green Space Office at Tehran Municipality. Although TM has been repeatedly criticized for its lackluster measures and sometimes inaction in tackling the problem, Ali Mohammad Mokhtari said all the precautionary plans were implemented last winter.

"According to the studies, the pests become inactive and hide at the back of wide leaves of evergreen trees and hence survive in cold weather, saving energy to resume their active life in hot weather. Therefore, winter is the time to set the controlling measures in place," Mehr News Agency quoted him as saying. Whiteflies have been a nuisance for the residents of metropolis every summer in the last few years. The silver leaf whitefly is one of several species infamous for their devastating impact on farmlands and plants, but they are harmless to humans.

Recalling the measures taken so far, Mokhtari said the affected leaves were collected and disposed separately to prevent them from returning to the environment during recycling. In addition, trimming strategies were modified and lower branches were cut off. Oil and paraffin emulsions of organic pesticides and in some cases, chemical pesticides, were sprayed in hot spots of afflicted plants. The biological control plan, focusing on breeding natural predators of whiteflies, has also been implemented for the first time during the current year.

"The first group of ladybirds and parasitoid wasps has been released into the environment in several districts in Tehran, which is expected to be effective," Mokhtari said. Reportedly, the officials are making arrangements to upgrade equipment such as water pumps and supply enough insect sticks to more strictly fight the pests.

Mokhtari said TM officials are utilizing their maximum potential to clear the city of whiteflies.


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