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Whitefly

(Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae)

Appearance

White Flies are small winged insects that look more like moths than flies. They have a powdery wax which both protects them and is key to identification.

Size

Approximately 1/16-inch long.

Behavior

Whiteflies damage plants by tapping into the phloem. The plants lose sap and react to the white flies' toxic saliva. As whiteflies congregate in large numbers, they overwhelm plants quickly. It can get so bad that when you tap a leaf, a swarm of whiteflies will go airborne before re-settling under the leaf. They also excrete honeydew, which promotes mold growth and can ruin a cotton crop with its stickiness.

Habitat

Whiteflies are typically found on the underside of plant leaves

Damage Caused

Whiteflies cause leaf damage, sap drainage, honeydew (which lures other insects), and unsightly plant appearances.

Interesting Facts

Whiteflies have an unusually modified form of metamorphosis. In the immature stages they begin life as mobile individuals, but soon attach themselves to a plant. The stage before the adult is called a pupa (though it is not at all the same as the true pupal stage in holometabolous insects).

Control

Do you live in South Florida and think that this pest may be invading your yard? Hulett Environmental Services offers specialty lawn care treatments designed to control and eliminate this pest!

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