There is a new pest invading South Florida! Spiraling Whitefly is damaging palm trees, hardwoods, and other ornamental vegetation. It is also covering cars, swimming pools and lawn furniture with sticky goo and mold that grows on them.
The Rugose Spiraling Whitefly, native to Central America, was discovered in 2009 in Miami-Dade County. Females lay eggs in a concentric spiraling or circular pattern on the bottom of leaves and cover the eggs with a white wax. Adult whiteflies are about one-tenth of an inch in size with larval stages of the insect being smaller.
In 2011, this new species of whitefly has been discovered attacking plants in Palm Beach County. It is called “Spiraling” or “Gumbo Limbo” Whitefly (Aleurodicus Rugioperculatus.) When compared to the “Ficus” Whitefly, this whitefly is much larger and moves slowly. Eggs are laid in a spiral pattern. Unlike the Ficus Whitefly which attacks a single type of plant, the spiraling whitefly attacks the majority of the plants, trees, and palms we have in our yards.
The Spiraling Whitefly produces large quantities of honeydew, which in turn produces the fungus sooty mold. Vast amounts of this black, sticky, sooty mold fall from the plants into our pools and onto our cars, sidewalks, etc. This nuisance issue is a bigger problem than damage to the plants.
Long term control of the Spiraling Whitefly requires systemic insecticides which are absorbed and distributed by the plant’s vascular system. Foliar applications as a primary means of control are of little value in the long term. Both soil and trunk applications are effective for long term control.
It is very important to catch the Spiraling Whitefly early.
Call us today at (561) 791-2400 for a Free Spiraling Whitefly inspection!
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