Rugose Spiraling Whitefly

Indian Harbour Beach, FL(Zone 10a)

As most of you know, there is a serious infestation of Rugose Spiraling whitefly here in Florida.

The attached link explains it more thoroughly. The wind doesnít help as it helps blow the whitefly all over. It was discovered in 2009 in Miami/Dade County (originally from S. America) and has already killed a lot of trees (starting out with the Gumbo Limbos) and it has now reached Brevard county; and will more than likely keep going into the other counties, so you should be aware of it and try to keep on top of it. I first learned about it at one of our last Master Gardener meetings; then boom -- I discovered them on my Christmas palms -- itís not discriminatory -- Iíve even got it on my plumeria, pudica, and crotons ! My neighbors have it also; some have it on their arecas. It was mentioned as well on Channel 13 news the other evening. There is even going to be a meeting held in our township library one evening soon.

If you find that your trees/shrubs arenít heavily infested you can do what Iíve also been doing; a strong blast of water from the hose will dislodge them. I asked our county hort. agent if the eggs which would wash off to the the ground, would be a problem. She said it wouldnít because their food source (leaves) would be up high. So, thatís an alternative Ė and it does help, and it 's cheaper. The "landscapers" are charging a lot of money for the treatments.

Because my Christmas palms were heavily infested I did give them a soil drench Ė with the Bayer (Advanced) Tree and Shrub soil protection; remember, it must list the active ingredient as imidicloprid, which goes into the vascular system of the tree/shrub and is viable for maybe six months, or in some cases up to a year. I donít like to use pesticides on my plants, but in this case you have to take action.

I also bought a couple of spray bottles of a horticultural spray (at Lowes); which can be used on fruits and vegetables; it stated that it was good for whitefly, as well as other nasties such as mealybug. So, I used that on my crotons and plumeria and pudica (getting up underneath the leaves) as there wasnít much of the whitefly visible. Meanwhile, Iíve been hosing the underside of the fronds and leaves every other day or so.

It is very easy to identify -- the eggs (which at first are miniscule) are laid in a circular pattern and it's white.

The major downside of using the soil drench, or anything with imidicloprid however, is that if the plant flowers in any way, it will kill any bees or butterflies that visit, thatís why Iím trying the hort. spray on my flowering plants which would be harmless.

This didn't show up as a link, but just paste it in your browser.

Keep inspecting the undersides of the leaves.

Lee's Summit, MO(Zone 6a)

I have cases of whitefly off and on throughout the year. In the greenhouse, I set off a bug bomb, which takes care of them for the season. I don't worry about those on the outside plants.

Indian Harbour Beach, FL(Zone 10a)

There are dozens of varieties of whitefly -- this one is different.

(Zone 9a)

That report from UFL is scary. Thanks for the heads up, everyone who buys plants that originated in FL could wind up with this new pest.

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

Thank you Orchid. I printed out list from UF of pesticides we can use to stop them. I had a confederate rose that was always loaded with white fly and the sooty mold so I thru it away but was given another that is now ready to bloom so I will protect it although I tried many sprays before I will keep trying.

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