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What Are Whiteflies?

Whiteflies are tiny insects that thrive in warm weather. They use their piercing mouthparts to suck the sap out of plants. Though whiteflies are small, they can become a big problem for homeowners. Whiteflies invade our yards and damage vegetable gardens and ornamental plants.

Despite their name, whiteflies are not true flies; they are more closely related to other garden pests like aphids, scales, and mealybugs. Tiny in size, whiteflies grow to about 2mm long and are a triangular shape. Whiteflies resemble small moths. Adults have yellowish bodies and four whitish colored wings, and their body and wings have a waxy covering.

many whiteflies on a leaf

Are Whiteflies Dangerous?

High populations of whiteflies are damaging to plants. As the adults feed, they pierce the leaves sucking juice and sap from them. Their feeding behavior causes the leaves on plants and trees to yellow, wither, and die before their time. These pests are also able to transmit a wide variety of viruses from plant to plant as they feed.

Another problem with these pests is that they secrete “honeydew”. Honeydew is a sweet sticky substance that grows “sooty mold”. The fungus turns the leaves black and dirty and causes the plants to become stressed. Also, the sticky substance attracts various other insects, including ants. 

Why Do I Have A Whitefly Problem?

Whitefly populations grow very fast in warm weather, which is why they are such a problem throughout South Florida. In temperate weather regions, these pests are active year-round. Whiteflies move from plant to plant to feed. Their large populations help to protect them from being wiped out by predators like spiders and ladybugs. Whiteflies living together in large populations make controlling and eliminating these pests very difficult.

Where Will I Find Whiteflies?

Whitefly adults live and feed on the underside of plant leaves. When disturbed, it is common to see these tiny insects fly off together in a swarm. Whiteflies also lay their eggs on the underside of leaves. When they hatch, the larvae look like tiny white, legless ovals. The larvae immediately begin feeding on plant sap from the leaves. Each female is capable of producing 400 eggs in its lifetime.

Whiteflies will find their way onto your property on their own, after being attracted by ornamental plants, trees, or shrubs in your yard. We unknowingly introduce them into our yards after purchasing infected plants or trees from nurseries. They also sometimes get into our homes on potted plants.

How Do I Get Rid Of Whiteflies?

At Native Pest Management, we understand how frustrating a whitefly infestation can be. To help you maintain your sanity and protect your yard’s plants, we offer lawn care services monthly or every other month that eliminate whiteflies and help you to keep your lawn and landscape healthy and lush. If you are experiencing problems with whiteflies, contact Native Pest Management. We will be happy to help you get rid of whiteflies from your property. Call today to learn more about our effective whitefly control services!

How Can I Prevent Whiteflies In The Future?

Preventing problems with whiteflies is difficult. The best solution to your whitefly problem is to partner with the professionals here at Native Pest Management.

In addition to giving us a call, the following tips can help to deter these pests:

  • Use a reflective mulch, which helps to deter whiteflies.

  • Keep shrubs and trees well fertilized to keep them healthy and better able to fight off whitefly damage.
  • Regular trim trees and shrubs to allow more sunlight penetration into your landscape which will help generate new leaf growth
  • Use a garden hose to wash whiteflies off of the leaves they are feeding on.

  • Remove ornamental plants that seem to be defoliated by whiteflies from your property.

  • Remove leaves from plants that are infested or have been damaged by whiteflies.

Helpful Articles

Why Professional Lawn Care Beats Doing It Yourself In West Palm Beach

The Trick To Getting Rid Of White Flies Around Your West Palm Beach Property

The Many Benefits Of Whitefly Control In West Palm Beach 


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