Whiteflies in Florida

Pest Library


The whitefly is a small, but formidable threat to Florida’s plants and trees. There are many different types of species of whitefly.

Whitefly in FloridaWhat do whiteflies look like?

The whitefly is a tiny, 1/8”, mealy-white insect with four mealy-white wings that expand less than 1/8”.  They have needle-like mouths perfect for puncturing and sucking the juice out of their host plants.  The adults have two sets of wings that are covered with a white, powdery wax, which is where they get their name.  The whitefly nymph is a flat, elliptical-shaped object that is normally attached to the underside of leaves.

When are whiteflies most active?

Whiteflies thrive in sunny warm environments and are active year-round in Florida.

What attracts whiteflies?

There is some research that says that whiteflies particularly like and are attracted to the color yellow.

Spiraling whiteflies are attracted to citrus the most, but will attack just about any type of tree or plant.

Fig whiteflies are only attracted to ficus plants.

Where are you likely to find whiteflies?

There are multiple types of whitefly. Two common species are:

Fig whiteflies (also known as Ficus whitefly)- these whiteflies only eat ficus plants.

Spiraling whiteflies- these will eat just about any type of plant or tree.

Are whiteflies dangerous or destructive?

Both kinds of whiteflies that we have here in Florida are destructive to our plants and trees.  The damage that these insects inflict as well as the viruses that they transmit inhibits the growth and health of their host plants.

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