Whitefly Control for Miami, Broward, & Palm Beach
305-754-4460
Dade, Broward, Palm Beach

All about whiteflies and whitefly control

Introduction to whiteflies
Adult whiteflies resemble tiny white moths. However, they are not closely related to moths but are more related to scale insects. They are only about 1/16 inch in length and have four wings. The wings and body are covered with a fine white powdery wax. The immature stages (nymphs), which are found on the underside of leaves, are flat, oval in outline, and slightly smaller than a pin head. They are light green to whitish and somewhat transparent.

A generalized life cycle of the whitefly is as follows: The eggs are laid on the undersides of the leaves and hatch in four to 12 days into active, six legged nymphs (crawlers). The crawlers move about for several hours, then insert their mouthparts into the leaves and remain in one place for the rest of their immature stages. After molting three times they pupate (resting stage) and are transformed into the adult. The length of the life cycle from egg to adult varies considerably, requiring from 6 weeks to 6 months (winter generation).

Whiteflies have piercing-sucking mouthparts with which they puncture the leaf and suck the plant juices. Top sides of leaves on infested plants become pale or spotted due to these insects feeding on the undersides of the leaves. Whiteflies as well as soft scales, mealybugs, and aphids excrete large amounts of honeydew which provides an excellent medium for the growth of a black fungus called sooty mold. Besides being unattractive, sooty mold interferes with photosynthesis, somewhat retards the growth of the plant, and causes early leaf drop. Sooty mold usually weathers away following control of the insect infestation. Ants feed on the honeydew and when ants are noticed, plants should be examined closely for these sucking pests.

Whitefly Control and Management
Although efforts to control and get rid of whiteflies are ongoing, there are several potential options for whitefly control. However, it is necessary to consider the site (landscape, hedge, large tree, container, production, etc), the size and number of trees, and the surrounding environment before taking steps to control this pest.

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. 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.

Natural Resources Pest Control has proven methods for whiteflies and whitefly control. Using topical sprays to protect ficus leaves and systemic treatments, we're able to get rid of whitefly reproduction cycles and extinguish whitefly on your property.

For a quick estimate on whitefly control, call 305-754-4460.


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