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White flies in citrus can create havoc in orchards if they are not controlled. The citrus white fly is a tiny moth-like, four winged, mealy white insect with a wing span of less than 4.3mm. The fly mostly rests on the underside of the leaves, thus making chemical control difficult. It can usually be seen flying when the plant is disturbed. In India, in Kinnow Mandarin Orchards, farmers get up early in the morning to detect the presence of white flies in the orchards, for they are most active then.

Direct crop damage occurs when white flies feed in plant phloem, remove plant sap and reduce plant vigour. Damage to the plants by white flies is also caused by the removal of sap from the leaves. It is caused by the excretion of copious amounts of honeydew where sooty molds grow. It stops or interferes with the process of the photosynthesis and also spoils the ornamental quality of the citrus fruit. As chemical control gets difficult and expensive during the typical Indian monsoon (rainy) season, farmers have found a unique and a simple way of countering the menace of the citrus white fly by using yellow coloured plastic bags or yellow paper applied with mustard oil on it.

Take yellow coloured plastic bags and apply mustard oil on the outer part of the bags. Hang them on citrus plants by tying them with a string. The next morning you will find hundreds and hundreds of White Flies pasted on the plastic bag. Remove the bag and repeat exercise with a new bag.
In some countries, polythene bags are banned so farmers can make use of yellow coloured paper. Farmers can make traps by pasting the yellow side of the paper on cardboard and then hanging them on the trees after applying mustard oil on the paper. The same effect will be seen. Farmers should not take this as an alternate to chemical control of the citrus white fly, for in different areas the characteristics of the white fly can differ. Farmers must also consult their local horticulture office to control the spread of the white fly as this can ruin a good standing crop.