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Whiteflies on tomato plant in Port St. Lucie

How to Get Rid of Whiteflies in Port St. Lucie

Whiteflies belong to the family of Aleyrodidae with over 1500 species. They are an example of a sap-sucking insect similar to mealybugs and aphids and are actually closer to those two than they are to flies (even though they look like little white flies). 

Whiteflies can cause a number of problems for your landscaping, from causing leaves to fall off to a fungus on your plants called sooty mold. There’s a lot to learn about whiteflies in Port St. Lucie and this blog is here for you to understand all of the tips and tricks. 

When is Whitefly Season in Port St. Lucie? 

Port St. Lucie has the perfect conditions for whiteflies year-round: Warm and humid. Like many pests, those elements are all they require. The more these conditions are present, the higher the likelihood for whiteflies will be, meaning summer is the most common time of year for whiteflies. 

However, Port St. Lucie has a tropical climate, so there is no true “whitefly season”. This means it’s important to keep an eye out for signs of a whitefly infestation. 

Signs of a Whitefly Infestation in Port St. Lucie

  • Noticing tiny white bugs on plants
  • Curling, drying, or yellowing leaves
  • Feeling a sticky residue on your plants
  • A black soot-like substance on leaves

Where Do Whiteflies Come From?

Usually, if you have a whitefly infestation, it will already be present before you take the infested plant home, but not always. Other factors will cause whitefly infestations that you can prevent or reverse. 

Causes of Whitefly Infestations: 

  1. Excessive nitrogen fertilization: While nitrogen is an important ingredient for your yard’s strength, too much of a good thing is never good. Excessive nitrogen will actually decrease your yard’s resistance and immunity making it vulnerable to more pest infestations.
  2. Drought: Drought causes a lot of stress under lawns and stress, as we all know, is unhealthy. Drought makes lawns more susceptible to diseases and infestations. 
  3. Incorrect Use of Insecticides: Using insecticides can cause more harm than good. Just spraying general insecticides all over the place will harm the beneficial predators that control whiteflies which will intensify the infestation
  4. Lack of Predators: Beneficial predators are organisms that control a population. For example, spiders are beneficial predators of flies and ants, which are nuisance pests. 

Beneficial Insects for Whitefly Control

  • Predatory mites
  • Parasitic wasps
  • Ladybugs
  • Green lacewings
  • Predatory beetle  

Placing any of these insects in your yard can help control whiteflies. (Ladybugs are the clear winner if you have to choose!)

How Whiteflies Damage Plants 

Whiteflies start damaging plants by sucking the sap out of them using their needle-like mouthparts. This discolors the leaves, turning them yellow. They also release poison into the phloem of the plant (tissue that transports nutrients)  which spreads throughout the entire plant. 

This causes a metabolic imbalance in the plant, leading it to grow weak. Eventually, the leaves will dry up and fall off. 

Whiteflies will also produce honeydew as they suck the plant sap. The honeydew will cover the plant and turn into a black fungus called sooty mold for resembling soot. 

They can also transmit plant viruses like leaf curl virus and yellow mosaic disease. The next issue with whiteflies is how quickly they reproduce, making them difficult to control. 

How Whiteflies Reproduce

Whiteflies lay eggs on the undersides of leaves, making them difficult to spot. Whitefly eggs are very tiny oval-shaped eggs. When the eggs hatch, nymphs are released. These nymphs start to suck sap from the host plant and produce honeydew. The sap helps them grow and in turn, they molt. 

After a few cycles of molting, the nymphs will turn into adults. From there, they will begin reproducing. Whiteflies reproduce very quickly, at a rate of up to 400 eggs in two months and will reproduce every 30-45 days. This makes it difficult to control an infestation on your own. 

How to Get Rid of Whiteflies Naturally 

The easiest way to get rid of whiteflies is through professional pest control, but there are also some natural DIY methods. You can avoid using pesticides for whitefly infestations by sticking to soap and water; however, you can also use organic insecticidal soap as needed - it is perfectly safe for pets and your plants. 

  1. Take a hose and spray the infested plant. Make sure to get the undersides of leaves, where whiteflies lay eggs. 
  2. The National Gardening Association recommends that you spray the whiteflies with a solution of dish soap and water
  3. Carefully vacuum the whiteflies off your plants

How to Prevent Whiteflies in Port St. Lucie

  1. The best way to prevent whiteflies is to inspect your plants before you bring them home. If you see any little white bugs on the leaves, specifically on the undersides of leaves, they are most likely whiteflies and you should avoid bringing home the plant. Even if the plant looks like it’s in good condition, it can be difficult to get rid of whiteflies before they start damaging the plant. 
  2. If you do find that your new plant is infested with whiteflies, you can prune leaves where you see them.
  3. Avoid overwatering your plants. Whiteflies love humidity (which is why they love Florida) and increasing watering time can make the conditions even better for them. 
  4. Use reflective mulch to repel whiteflies by confusing and disorienting them. As a result, they will have trouble finding a host plant.
  5. Trim trees regularly to allow more sun exposure to generate new leaf growth to your lawn. 

Local ficus whitefly control in Port St. Lucie

The Best Whitefly Control in Port St. Lucie

It can be tricky to prevent and get rid of whiteflies. Once you find whiteflies on plants, they don’t come off easily. This is why the best way to get rid of whiteflies in Port St. Lucie is professional whitefly control. Native Pest Management uses eco-friendly and pet friendly whitefly control products that will bring your plants back to life.

Reasons to Choose Professional Whitefly Control: 

  1. Experience: Our technicians are highly experienced in whitefly infestations and know how to handle any whitefly situation. They can bring the most damaged plants back to life. 
  2. Products: We have the best quality products to use for whitefly control including insect growth regulators and insecticides. 
  3. Long-term prevention: By signing up for one of our customizable treatment plans, you can get long-term prevention from whiteflies to give you peace of mind. Instead of constantly having to put in the effort to get rid of whiteflies, put it in the hands of our technicians to give your yard full protection. 

We will first inspect your yard for whiteflies, checking the undersides of leaves to find adult whiteflies, nymph whiteflies, and whitefly eggs. Then, we will determine the best course of action, which could include traps, pet friendly insecticides, implementing reflective mulch, and beneficial predators. We will also make recommendations for your irrigation and yard maintenance. 

Along with our whitefly control, we offer quarterly granular fertilization to keep lawns well fertilized - and not over-fertilized to keep whiteflies away. 

If you’re looking for the best professional whitefly control in Port St. Lucie, schedule a free inspection with Native Pest Management. With over 3,000 five-star Google reviews, our technicians can successfully get rid of whiteflies in your yard while keeping it healthy. 

Request a free quote today to keep whiteflies away for good!