The spiraling whitefly gets its name from the distinctive spiral pattern on the underside of leaves in a thumb print-looking “spiral” pattern of eggs. A white, waxy substance begins to build on the underside of leaves which coats the eggs and newly hatched whiteflies (nymphs). The spiraling whitefly nymphs secrete a clear substance called “honeydew”, the sticky honeydew can drip down from infested trees overhead and quickly accumulate on cars, pool decks, driveways, and patio furniture and grills below leaving a nasty mess for homeowners.
Whiteflies are becoming a common pest found on many ornamental plants in South Florida. With over 75 species identified in the state, these tiny white moths are capable of infesting a wide range of landscape plants. In fact, whiteflies have rapidly broadened their diet to include a taste for more than 50 species of plants in Florida. The type and level of damage you might see depends upon the species. They frequently attack plants such as avocado, banana, bird of paradise, black olive trees, chinaberry, citrus, fig, gardenia, gumbo limbo, ligustrum, mango, coconut palms, persimmon, and many other types of palms, trees, and shrubs.
Damage Caused by Whiteflies
Whiteflies can be an incredibly costly infestation to have costing you hundreds to thousands of dollars to replace or repair trees, shrubs, plants that are infested. Honeydew left by whiteflies is extremely sticky and very difficult to clean off, and may require pressure cleaning to remove. Ants also feed on the honeydew, so if ants become a problem, plants should be examined closely for these pests. As the infested plants ooze honeydew, black mold grows into the honeydew and covers the leaves and branches. The black sooty mold fungus interferes with the plant’s growth and long term livelihood. Waxy material and the sooty mold on the plant will take time to wear off unless physically washed off. Once the insect is under control, the sooty mold and honeydew will disappear.
Homeowners must monitor plants for early signs of an infestation. It will be easier to manage the pest before it causes major damage. If you have an infestation on a tree, be sure to search nearby trees as well because this whitefly feeds on many types of trees. The spiraling whitefly can cause serious harm to you home’s landscaping. If you suspect this pest is infesting your home or business it is best to treat immediately. Just Call Hulett today for an inspection.