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Whiteflies are small, sap-sucking insects that belong to the Aleyrodidae family. They are common pests in many regions and can cause significant damage to plants by feeding on their sap and transmitting plant viruses. Here’s some information about whiteflies below:

Hannan Environmental Services - Pest Library - Whiteflies


The whitefly is usually innocuous, but in some situations can become a damaging pest. These situations usually occur when something has disrupted the parasite/predator complex. While it is known from Gainesville (north central Florida) to southern Florida, it is much more common in subtropical areas. Inspect the undersides of leaves for white fluffy wax trails, pupal cases, and adult whiteflies with a dark spot on each wing. This is the only whitefly in Florida that is easily identified from the adult.

How to identify 

Whiteflies are tiny, wingless insects that resemble moths. A female adult may reach a length of around 1/16 of an inch and can lay anywhere between 50 and 400 eggs during her lifespan. As they gather beneath the leaves of the decorative plants around your South Florida-area house or company, eggs and nymphs are simple to spot.

When the pest is prepared to hatch, the color of the eggs will change from light white to bluish-black. It is known that they feed on the nutrients found on the underside of leaves, both as adults and as freshly born insects.


  • Appearance: Whiteflies are tiny (about 1-2 mm long) with powdery white wings and yellowish bodies.
  • Lifecycle: They undergo a complete metamorphosis, with life stages including egg, nymph (four stages called instars), pupa, and adult.
  • Habitat: They thrive in warm climates and are often found on the underside of leaves.

What do they eat?

In South Florida, areca palms, bird of paradise, cocoplum, sea grapes, hibiscus, golden duranta, and live oak trees are also frequently used as hosts for whiteflies. Since clusia do not acquire whiteflies, we have had success with our clients utilizing clusia plants as privacy hedges.

Clusia hedges have a disadvantage over ficus hedges in that they develop considerably more slowly and are more prone to fungal damage. It is crucial to stay away from spraying foliar with pesticides as much as possible since natural enemies are a crucial part of long-term whitefly management.

How to get rid of them?

Have you seen any discoloration or dieback in your ficus hedges, banyan trees, coconut palm trees, hibiscus, or golden duranta? Do you have any plants on your property that are withering or losing their leaves for no apparent reason? If so, your property could be seeing whitefly activity.

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