Small Whitefly Creates Big Mess in SWFL!
The Whitefly Epedemic in Southwest Florida
Lenny’s Pest Control of Southwest Florida is always on the lookout for way to keep your family and home safe and protected from unwanted pests, bugs, parasites, rodents, etc… When we heard about the Whitefly we immediately took on the task of getting educated on the subject and finding out what we needed to do to keep our trees protected. We took the necessary steps to become experts on how to exterminate, protect and prevent the whitefly from affecting our environment and we started offering this service to our clients. We’ve had very successful results and today we want to share some of that research with you. Please feel free to check out this FGCU fact sheet for more information.
The WHITEFLY: Recently, a new pest was reported attacking ficus trees and hedges in Florida. This pest was identified as the fig whitefly, Singhiella simplex, and is a new US continental record. Whiteflies are small, winged insects that belong to the Order Hemiptera which also includes aphids scales, mealybugs, and bugs. These insects typically feed on the underside of leaves with their “needle-like” mouthparts. Whiteflies can seriously injure host plants by sucking juices from them causing wilting, yellowing, stunting, leaf drop, or even death.
Whiteflies have become a major issue in Southwest Florida with at least four species of particular concern: Ficus, Rugose Spiraling, Bondar’s Nesting and Silverleaf. Residents have noticed plant leaves yellowing, dropping, covered with white waxy material called flocculent, or covered with whitefly excrement called honeydew and its accompanying sooty mold. Plants, walkways, cars, outdoor furniture and even pools may become covered with the sticky material or flocculent. Whiteflies are among the many pests that are part of living in a subtropical climate. They can be managed with proper plant cultural practices; use of other beneficial insects, mites and fungi; and judicious application of the appropriate pesticides.
Recommendations: We recommend that you monitor your ficus plants for early signs of an infestation because it will be easier to manage the pest before it builds to high populations and causes major damage. If the foliage is disturbed the small, white gnat-like adult whiteflies can be seen flying from the foliage. The adult whitefly resembles a very small moth with a yellow body and white wings with a faint grey band in the middle of the wings. Immature stages (eggs and nymphs) can be found primarily on the underside of the leaves. Prior to adult emergence, the nymphs are tan to light green discs with red eyes. The underside of infested leaves look like they are dotted with small, silver or white spots which are actually the empty “skin” of the pupae after the adult emerges. Also, if infested trees or hedges are trimmed, either leave the clippings on the property or if removing, bag the clippings to reduce the chance of spreading the insects. If clippings are being transported in a truck, be sure to either bag them or cover these clippings with a tarp.
Although your ficus tree or hedge may appear to be dying after losing most of it leaves, it may still be alive. If the twigs are still supple, the plant will produce new leaves in a few weeks. As soon as new growth is evident, a systemic insecticide applied to the soil may provide protection to the new growth. If you do see signs of the Whitefly in your yard please give us a call at 239-945-6543 to get your trees protected immediately.
The Whitefly Damage: The leaves of ficus trees infested with whiteflies begin to turn yellow before the leaves are dropped from the plant. Ficus trees without their leaves are one of the most obvious symptoms of a whitefly infestation. This whitefly has been most commonly found infesting weeping fig (Ficus benjamina) but has also been seen on F. altissima, F. bengalensis (also called “banyan tree”), F. microcarpa, and F. maclellandii. Weeping figs are commonly used as hedges but also grow as trees. Other hosts include the strangler fig (F. aurea), Cuban laurel (F. microcarpa), fiddle-leaf fig (F. lyrata) and banana-leaf fig (F. macllandii). This whitefly may eventually be found on other species of ficus. Azalea has also been listed as a host plant.
For all your Whitefly extermination problems in Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Bonita Springs or any of Lee County, Charlotte County, Collier County or Southwest Florida – please give us a call and let us help you out!
Lenny’s Pest Control is all about educating you and helping you protect your home or office space from unwanted, bugs and pests. We always take time to answer all your questions and educate you about what needs to be done for your home, office or lawn. We are experienced in tackling the Whitefly, GRUBS, termites and any other insects in your yard or living space. We have a team of experts that specialize in Southwest Florida Pest Control inside and outside of your home or place of business and we do the job right the first time. Don’t try to fix it yourself, let the experts handle all of your pest control problems! We proudly service Residential or Commercial clients in the Lee, Charlotte and Collier Counties. Call us at 239-945-6543 to get a quote today!
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