Hulett Response to Coronavirus. Read Here

GET STARTED

Fig Whiteflies

Active Seasons

Illustration representing the spring season
Illustration representing the summer season
Illustration representing the winter season
Illustration representing the fall season

Appearance and Size Facts

  • A relatively new pest was reported attacking ficus trees and hedges in South Florida
  • Also known as the Ficus whitefly and new continental United States record
  • Small, winged insects that belong to the insect order Hemiptera, which also includes aphids, scales, and mealybugs
  • Typically feed on the underside of leaves with their needle-like mouthparts
  • Can seriously injure host plants by sucking juices from them causing wilting, yellowing, stunting, leaf drop, or even death

Behavior and Habitat of Fig Whiteflies

The biology of the Fig whitefly is not well-known, however, it is probably similar to related species in South Florida. Eggs which are usually laid on the underside of leaves hatch into a crawler stage. The crawler wanders around the leaf until they begin to feed. From this point until they emerge as adults, they are immobile and remain in the same place on the plant. These feeding, non-mobile stages (nymphs) are usually oval, flat, and simple in appearance. The pupae have bright red eyes, a striking characteristic of this species of whitefly.

Image of a magnifying glass

Signs of Infestation of Fig Whiteflies

The leaves of ficus hedges infested with Whiteflies begin to turn yellow before the leaves are dropped from the plant. Ficus trees without their leaves are one of the most obvious symptoms of a Whitefly infestation. This Whitefly has been most commonly found infesting weeping fig (Ficus benjamina) but has also been seen on the strangler fig (F. aurea), Cuban laurel (F. microcarpa), fiddle-leaf fig (F. lyrata) and banana-leaf fig (F. macllandii). This Whitefly may eventually be found on other species of ficus. Azalea has also been listed as a host plant. If the foliage is disturbed, the small, white, gnat-like adult Whiteflies can be seen flying from the foliage. The adult Whitefly resembles a very small moth with a yellow body and white wings, with a faint grey band in the middle of the wings. Immature stages (eggs and nymphs) can be found primarily on the underside of the leaves. Prior to adult emergence, the nymphs are tan to light green discs with red eyes. The underside of infested leaves look like they are dotted with small, silver or white spots which are actually the empty skin of the pupae after the adult emerges.

An illustration representing a warning sign for bug infestation

Tips for Prevention of Fig Whiteflies

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.

A cropped image of a pencil

Fig Whitefly Gallery

Photograph of fig whitefly
Photograph of fig whitefly number 2
Photograph of fig whitefly number 3

Latest Pest & Termite Control News

What Silverfish Are, Where They Come From, & How to Get Rid of Them

What Silverfish Are, Where They Come From, & How to Get Rid of Them

If you have seen small silver insects that exhibit almost fish-like movement around your home, you may be wondering how to get rid of silverfish. Most of us remember the first time we saw these distinctive creepy crawlies scurrying around. When these prehistoric-looking insects show up in your...

Read More ›
Rodent Exclusion: How to Find Rat & Mice Entry Points

Rodent Exclusion: How to Find Rat & Mice Entry Points

If you see rats or mice in your home, you will want to use a professional pest control company to trap the interior, bait the exterior, and complete a rodent exclusion on your home to prevent rodent entry as soon as possible. The telltale signs of a rodent infestation can send shivers down your...

Read More ›
How to Get Rid of Ghost Ants (Little White Ants in Florida)

How to Get Rid of Ghost Ants (Little White Ants in Florida)

Want to know how to get rid of ghost ants in South Florida? If you have little white ants or clear ants crawling around your kitchen, you probably have ghost ants. These adaptable white ants in Florida are a common household invader that homeowners struggle to eliminate on their own. With the right...

Read More ›