Advice on new whitefly infestation

posted Jun 1, 2012, 10:50 AM by Garth Graham   [ updated Jun 1, 2012, 11:50 AM ]

Many residents throughout the district are grappling with a new infestation affecting their gardens, landscaping and pools. It’s a variety of whitefly called the Rugose Spiraling Whitefly. Infected plants can become covered with a white, waxy substance, while pool water can turn green as the chlorination system becomes impaired. The sticky honeydew can also accumulate on cars, pool decks and patio furniture.

Several neighbors have had this happen so we wanted to pass on advice from the city’s urban forester and the state agriculture extension office. This new whitefly is capable of infesting a wide range of plants such as gumbo limbo, banana, black olive, mango and palms. For small plants, experts say you should thoroughly wash them with a strong stream of water. Follow up with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil sprayed once a week for three to four weeks, and repeat as needed. Experts offer the following advice for larger plants and ornamental trees. Again, you should thoroughly wash them with a strong stream of water. You also may want to use a systemic insecticide labeled for whitefly control in landscapes. This can be applied to the soil as a drench, as a granule, or as a tablet. These types of insecticides may take several weeks to be effective for large trees. For fruit trees, make sure that the plant is listed on the pesticide label and follow the instructions. Swimming pools can be affected, too. The city’s urban forester recommends you seek help from a pool care professional or take a water sample to a pool supply store for analysis. He said steps to resolve pool problems may include super chlorination and cleaning of the pool filters. Potentially, what may be needed is an algaecide or shock treatment using products containing sodium bromide or potassium mononpersulfate to oxidize the organic matter in the water may. Always follow the label recommendations. I hope this information helps everyone deal with this blight.