If you’ve started to see damage to your trees and shrubs and you live in South Florida, there’s a possibility you may have whiteflies! There are currently two different whitefly species that have been invading South Florida. What’s worse, these flies are spreading rapidly through neighborhoods and can cause damage to trees and shrubs in just weeks!
- Ficus Fig Whitefly is a very damaging pest to many of the Ficus species. Severe infestations will cause massive leaf drop and defoliation. If the foliage has been disturbed, there will be clouds of tiny, white, gnat-like adult whiteflies flying from the foliage. The adult whitefly is yellow in color with white wings that have a faint gray band towards the middle of the wing.
- The Rugose Whitefly will infest a wide range of plants. They do not typically cause as much damage as the Ficus Fig Whitefly but will produce an abundance of white, waxy material and egg masses laid in spiral patterns. They also leave behind a honeydew residue that can damage pools, stain sidewalks and lead to sooty mold.
Whitefly eggs are laid under leaf surfaces. When the eggs hatch, “crawlers” crawl across the leaf until they find a spot to feed and remain there until reaching the adult stage. Once whiteflies reach the adult stage, they no longer feed on the plant. If you suspect you may have a whitefly problem, have a professional inspect it and provide a customized treatment plan to eliminate them and protect your trees and shrubs from future infestations.