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South Florida Ficus Whitefly Control

Many homes in Palm Beach and Broward counties are surrounded by ficus hedges. When properly maintained, ficus in the area are thick and beautiful, making them the perfect privacy hedge. When whiteflies attack, they rapidly defoliate ficus hedges and remove the privacy you once had. At Native Pest Management, we are ficus whitefly experts and believe that our proven method of controlling and preventing whiteflies will eliminate them on your ficus for good, guaranteed. 

What Are Whiteflies?

whiteflies on a plant outside a home in west palm beach florida

Currently, there are various species of whiteflies in Palm Beach and Broward counties, with all of the species falling into two major categories: B-biotype and Q-biotype.

Why are whiteflies such an issue here in South Florida? Compared with other pests that plague ornamental plants in the Palm Beach area, the whitefly is much more difficult to control. The primary reason is the large number of ficus and palm trees in the area that have provided an abundant food source for whiteflies.

How To Identify Whiteflies

Whiteflies are small, white insects that have moth-like wings. An adult female can grow to about 1/16 of an inch in length and can produce as many as 50-400 eggs in their lifetime. Eggs and nymphs can be easily identified as they accumulate under the leaves of the ornamental plants around your South Florida area home or business.

Eggs will shift in color from light white to bluish-black as the pest is ready to hatch. Both the adults and newly hatched whiteflies are known to feed on the nutrients from the underside of the leaf. The rapid loss of nutrients will cause ficus and other ornamental shrubs to quickly defoliate. If your ornamental plants begin to show signs of stress, they could be under attack from whiteflies, so be sure to get in touch with us right away for our South Florida whitefly control services.

Ficus Whitefly

As a resident of South Florida, you have seen the damage caused by the ficus whitefly. Throughout South Florida, ficus hedges have been decimated by this insect, turning what were intended to be nature’s privacy walls into see-through chain link fences.

Whiteflies suck nutrients from plants which causes wilting, defoliation and branch dieback. The areas we have seen the most ficus damage include Palm Beach Island, Wellington, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, and Boca Raton.

The good news is that your damaged hedges will very likely recover and thrive with a proper whitefly treatment program combined with our high quality fertilization program. Following University of Florida treatment guidelines, we at Native Pest Management focus on preventing ficus whitefly with a systemic product regularly applied to the roots of your ficus trees and hedges.

Following this quarterly application, the insecticide is absorbed through transpiration into the ficus leaves, eliminating the ability of whiteflies to feed on or lay eggs on the plant material. In addition to protecting your ficus from damage, our targeted treatment methods protect beneficial insects that prey on whiteflies, further enhancing the overall health of your landscape by encouraging biological control methods.

Coconut Palm Tree Whitefly - Rugose Spiraling Whitefly

The easiest way to determine if you have whiteflies on your coconut palm trees or whiteflies on your gumbo limbo trees is to walk outside and look on the underside of the palm fronds and plant leaves. If spiral whiteflies are present, you will see a white, waxy material covering the fronds and leaves.

If you have a pool, it may look like there is snow in the water and the pool may turn green as whiteflies and their honeydew secretions deplete the chlorine. If your pool is currently suffering from the effects of whiteflies, we recommend an immediate application of systemic insecticides to all host trees and plants in the area. Applying phosphate removal treatments to your pool will also help prevent discoloration from whiteflies.

What Is Sooty Mold?

Honeydew is the preferred food source of ghost ants, often referred to as sugar ants. It is common for people with active whiteflies on their property to also be seeing these ants in their homes.

Since whiteflies produce “honeydew”, a sugary substance, you may also notice the growth of black sooty mold on plants, concrete, and vehicles underneath infested trees. Sooty mold grows on plants as a result of the whiteflies and other plant eating insects producing honeydew. The proper treatment is not to treat the sooty mold, but to treat the insects that are producing the honeydew which sooty mold grows on.

What Do Whiteflies Eat?

Other common host trees and plants of whiteflies in South Florida are areca palms, bird of paradise, cocoplum, seagrapes, hibiscus, golden duranta, and live oak trees. We have seen our clients have success using clusia plants as privacy hedges since clusia do not get whiteflies. The downside of clusia compared to ficus hedges is that they are much slower growing plants and are more susceptible to fungus damage than ficus. Because natural enemies are a critical component of long-term whitefly control, it is important to avoid the foliar spraying of insecticides as much as possible.

How To Get Rid Of Whiteflies

Have you noticed that your ficus hedges, coconut palm trees, hibiscus, or golden duranta are experiencing discoloration or dieback? Do you have plants on your property that are wilting with no known cause? If so, there may be whitefly activity present on your property. 

Contact the best whitefly control company today at Native Pest Management to schedule a free inspection at your home or business.

 

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