Information on Rugose Spiraling Whitefly
In March, 2009, a whitefly (Aleurodicus rugioperculatus Martin: Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae), was collected in Miami‐Dade County from gumbo limbo. This was the first report of this insect on the U.S. continent and it is believed to originate from Central America. Since the initial find, there have been numerous other reports, all in Miami‐Dade County. It will likely spread to other southern Florida counties.
The most noticeable symptoms of an infestation of this whitefly is the abundance of
the white, waxy material covering the leaves and also excessive sooty mold. Like other similar insects, these whiteflies will produce “honeydew”, a sugary substance, which causes the growth of sooty mold. The actual effect of an infestation on the health of a plant is unknown; however, whiteflies in general can cause plant decline, defoliation and branch dieback.
What are Whiteflies?
They are small, winged insects that belong to the Order Hemiptera which also includes aphids, scales, and mealybugs. These insects typically feed on the underside of leaves with their “needle-like” mouthparts. Whiteflies can seriously injure host plants by sucking nutrients from the plant causing wilting, yellowing, stunting, leaf drop, or even death. There are more than 75 different whiteflies reported in Florida.
NOTE: This is not the same whitefly (ficus whitefly) that is currently causing defoliation and branch dieback of ficus in south Florida. via UFL