Cotton

Natural Enemies of Spider Mites, Aphids, and Whitefly—Early Squaring Through Boll Development

Each name links to more information on identification and management.

Click on photos to enlarge
Adult western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis.
Western flower thrips
Identification tip: Thrips are tiny, slender insects less than 0.06 inch (1.55 mm) long. They are light colored; adults have clear, slender wings.

Western predatory mite attacking spider mite egg.
Western predatory mites
Identification tip: Western predatory mites are about the size of twospotted spider mites, but lack spots, range in color from cream to amber red (depending on what they just recently consumed), are shinier and more pear-shaped than their prey. They are also more active and don't make webs.

Predaceous adult bigeyed bug.
Bigeyed bugs
Identification tip: Bigeyed bug adults and nymphs are oval, somewhat flattened, about 1/4 inch (4 mm) long, usually brownish or yellowish, and have a wide head with prominent bulging eyes.
Minute pirate bug attacking an aphid.
Minute pirate bugs
Identification tip: Adults are about small, 1/12 to 1/5 (2-5 mm) inches long, oval, black, or purplish with white markings, and have a triangular head.
Chrysoperla carnea, green lacewing larva.
Lacewing larvae
Identification tip: Larvae are flattened, tapered at the tail, measure 1/8 to 4/5 inch (3-20 mm) long, have distinct legs, and possess prominent mandibles used to attack their prey.
Larva of the large hover fly, Scaeva pyrastri, feeding on rose aphids.
Syrphid fly larvae
Identification tip: Larvae are legless and maggot-shaped. They vary in color and patterning, but most have a yellow lengthwise stripe on the back. They can be distinguished from caterpillar larvae by their tapered head, lack of legs, and their opaque skin, through which internal organs can be seen.
Predaceous larva of convergent lady beetle.
Lady beetles
Identification tip: Larvae are active, elongate, have long legs, and resemble tiny alligators.

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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