Identifying Whiteflies

On this page
  • Sweetpotato whitefly pupae
  • Sweetpotato whitefly adult
  • Greenhouse whitefly with nymphs
  • Greenhouse whitefly adult
  • Bandedwing whitefly pupae
  • Bandedwing whitefly adult and nymphs

It is important to distinguish between sweetpotato whiteflies which cause the most serious damage to tomatoes and other whiteflies. You can distinguish between sweetpotato whiteflies and greenhouse whiteflies by examining fourth-instar nymphs with a hand lens.

Fourth-instar nymphs of greenhouse whiteflies have long waxy filaments around the edge of their bodies, whereas those of sweetpotato whitefly do not. It is possible that you may also see bandedwinged whiteflies. Use the photos below to help you with your identification. Names link to more information on identification and management.

Click on photos to enlarge

Sweetpotato whitefly
Sweetpotato whitefly pupae
Nymphs are convex or rounded in profile. From above they are oval, whitish, soft and unlike 4th instar greenhouse whitefly nymphs, do not have filaments.

Sweetpotato whitefly
Sweetpotato whitefly adult
Adults hold their wings rooflike over their bodies. The wings do not meet in the back as they do in greenhouse whitefly adults, but have a slight space between them.

Greenhouse whitefly
Greenhouse whitefly with nymphs
Nymphs are elevated in profile with edges perpendicular like a cake or hat box. They have many long waxy filaments around the edge of their bodies.

Greenhouse whitefly
Greenhouse whitefly adult
Adults are very similar in appearance to silverleaf whitefly adults, but hold their wings flatter over the back with no space between the wings where they meet in the center.

Bandedwinged whitefly
Bandedwinged whitefly pupae
Nymph filaments are not as long as those of the greenhouse whitefly.

Bandedwinged whitefly
Bandedwinged whitefly adult and nymphs
Adults have brownish bands across their wings.

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