Ficus Whitefly Invasive Pests Damaging Landscapes in Palm Beach, Broward and Martin County

Among landscaping choices in our warm climate here in Florida, you can choose the Ficus tree. In many places the Ficus is more commonly grown indoors rather than outside. In our yards, these trees can reach massive sizes, from 50 to 60 feet high and with a spread of 100 feet. They often grow to be wider than they are tall. The Ficus tree is an excellent ornamental plant and most species produce figs. The proper care and cultivation of these trees became more of a challenge in 2007 when the Ficus Whitefly was introduced into the U.S. here in Florida.

Whiteflies are an insect with more than 1,500 species having been classified. They can transmit disease and also eat and destroy plants and shrubberies. They are very difficult to control and their elimination may require the application of multiple methods in rotation and over weeks. The whitefly evolves in 4 stages, from eggs to nymphs, to pupa, to the adult fly. Researchers at the University of Florida report that Ficus Whiteflies are seriously injuring host plants by sucking juices from them. This results in wilting, yellowing, stunting, leaf drop, or even the death of trees.

To find out if your Ficus is infested shake your plant to see if small, gnat-like whiteflies emerge. You can also look at the underside of the leaves for whiteflies in immature stages. A magnifying glass is helpful for detection. The whiteflies will appear as small tan to light green discs with red eyes. You will want to carefully check your ficus plants for early signs of an infestation. Detection of these pests in the beginning stages will make it easier to manage them before they build high populations and cause major damage. Since whiteflies congregate in large numbers infested plants can be quickly overwhelmed and destroyed.

We cannot consider the Ficus Whitefly an inevitable result of living in Florida. It is not a native species. For that matter neither are the Ficus trees they attack. However, the Ficus Whitefly is a devastating garden insect infesting countless of gardens all over Florida. Yours could easily be next. Most plants become heavily infested in only a short time. If you do not catch the infestation early you could lose most of your beautiful flora. You could also lose thousands of dollars in repair expense.

Best to protect your investment and call Zimmerman Tree Service today.