Spiraling WhiteFly (Aleurodicus Rugioperculatus)
The Rugose Spiraling Whitefly (along with several related species) is causing major damage to trees, palms and other plants over most coastal areas of Florida at the moment (map of effected counties). The most susceptible varieties seem to be Coconut Palms, Gumbo Limbo Trees, White Bird of Paradise, Arecca Palms, Ficus Trees, Christmas Palms (Adonidia), and many others. This list continues to grow over time. But once you have Whiteflies established in your landscape they will travel and lay eggs on just about any growing plant. We have even seen them lay eggs on fence posts!
The Spiraling Whitefly feeds on the plant then excretes a sticky “honey” dew that oozes from the infested trees soiling the sides of houses, patio furniture, pavers, automobiles, you name it. The honey dew then attracts Ants and Black Sooty Mold creating more problems. In addition to the WhiteFlies weakening plants by feeding on them over time the Black Mold can also stop photo synthesis in plants further weakening or even killing them.
The best way to treat for these insects is to inject the plant or soil drench with a systemic insecticide. Using this method ensures that you are only treating insects that are feeding on the plant and not beneficial insects that might be feeding on the Whiteflies or pollinating plants. Foliar spraying is somewhat effective but the Whiteflies come back rapidly (3 to 4 weeks) and you wipe out all the beneficial insects.
Southern Greens has developed programs that treat and prevent for these new and damaging insects the Sarasota, Manatee and Pinellas county areas. Give us a call and one of our experts will do a full landscape analysis and present some treatment programs to help stop your trees from turning into a Black sticky mess!