About the Rugose Spiraling Whitefly and Whitefly Treatment

About the Rugose Spiraling Whitefly

Whiteflies are tiny, pure white, moth-like insects that feed and lay eggs on the undersides of leaves. Two different types of whiteflies are the rugose spiraling whitefly and the ficus whitefly, and there are distinct differences between the two. The rugose was originally called the Gumbo Limbo Spiraling Whitefly, named after the plant on which it was first discovered. It has since then been found infesting the Gumbo Limbo, White Bird of Paradise, Coconut Palm, Black Olive, Live Oak, and many others. These whiteflies are much larger than the ficus and bemisia whiteflies – almost three times bigger.

The rugose spiraling whitefly is less of a pest to plants than the ficus whitefly. From what we have seen so far, it is not causing severe damage such as plant death or branch die-back. However, it is a nuisance and can create a mess. Our climate conditions here in Florida are ideal for their growth. Therefore, populations build up and infested plants can become covered with the white, waxy substance, and disfigured by the black sooty mold that grows on the insect’s excrement (called honeydew). Honeydew is a sugar-rich sticky liquid and is also secreted by aphids and some scale insects as they feed on plant sap. This sticky honeydew can accumulate on cars, pool decks, and patio furniture from infested trees.

How can you tell if your plants have become the targets of rugose spiraling whiteflies?

Rugose spiraling whitefly infestations are being discovered all over Southwest Florida. They also seem to be infesting all of our most common palms, in addition to many of our most common trees. Look for the distinctive white spirals and a build-up of a white, waxy substance on the underside of the leaves. If the leaves are turning white the sooty mold that’s produced can turn the leaves, trunk, and anything under the infested tree black. This black sooty mold, in turn, interferes with photosynthesis. This mold can reduce plant growth and may cause early leaf drop.

Whitefly Treatment in Florida

The most effective way to combat whiteflies is to have an arborist and certified pest control operator deal with them. With over 30 years of experience, Zimmerman Tree Service is a tree service in West Palm Beach, Florida, providing fruit and ornamental tree care, as well as insect, disease, and fertilization programs in Palm Beach County. As a leader in tree care and tree trimming in Boca Raton, Zimmerman Tree Service’s unique approach of delivering a wide range of arboriculture services conveniently eliminates the time and expense of searching for and experimenting with different companies.

Our objective is to continually provide superior arboriculture and tree trimming services that add value to trees, prepare them for storm season, and enhance their overall health and beauty. We focus on servicing our customers to ensure their satisfaction every day.

For more information on whitefly control or insect and tree disease management, call Zimmerman Tree Service at (561) 968-1045 or contact us here.


When you hire Zimmerman Tree Service, you will have peace of mind knowing you are working with highly-trained and knowledgeable professionals.

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