Speaker Spotlight: Hugh Smith

Whiteflies and diamondback moths have grown to be a big issue for South Florida vegetable growers. Researchers at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) are studying how resistant these pests have become to commonly used insecticides. Hugh Smith, entomologist at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, will be sharing some results that have been collected from these studies during the Vegetable & Specialty Crop Expo seminar program.

Hugh Smith

“This presentation is going to show results from tests we have been doing on whiteflies and diamondback moths, which are two pretty different and unrelated pests,” Smith says. “Whiteflies are a general pest of a lot of vegetables, and diamondback moths are a caterpillar that attacks brassica, mainly cabbage. Even though they are two very different pests, we’re trying to get similar information related to insecticide efficacy from field populations.”

UF/IFAS has been bringing whiteflies and diamondback moths from farms across South Florida and conducting lab bioassays using the top-labeled rate of commonly used insecticides. The tests show mortality rates 24, 48 and 72 hours after exposure to the insecticides. These results provide a good overview of how well some of these key insecticides are working across the region for these two important pest groups.

“We’re hoping that this information is something that growers can use to make decisions about what to spray early and later on in the season,” Smith says. “We want growers to be able to take this information and use it to design some of their insecticide rotations within the context of their overall scouting and pest management program if they deal with crops with whiteflies or diamondback moths.”

Smith will also be sharing what he considers the “go-to” products for these two pests in terms of efficacy as well as some of the other rotational partners for designing a program, including some of the newer materials.

Smith will give his presentation Thursday, Aug. 15, at 11:20 a.m. in Davidson Hall.

Citrus Expo and VSC Expo will take place Aug. 14–15 at the Lee Civic Center in North Fort Myers, Florida. Growers will not want to miss this year’s event, so don’t wait. To preregister, click here or call 352-671-1909. All preregistered growers will automatically be entered for a chance to win a John Deere gun safe courtesy of Everglades Equipment Group.

Due to a staggering amount of support, Citrus Expo is currently sold out of indoor exhibitor space, but there are outdoor booths available. If you would like to exhibit outdoors or be added to the waiting list for indoor space, please fill out a registration form.

Information about the seminar sessions is now available. Click here to view the seminar schedule. Be sure to mark your calendar for Citrus Expo’s biggest year yet! To learn more about Citrus Expo, including host hotel information, visit CitrusExpo.net.