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Pest Information

Gumbo limbo spiraling whitefly

  • Latin Name: Aleurodicus rugioperculatus
  • Common Name: Gumbo limbo spiraling whitefly
  • Other Names: Rugose spiraling whitefly

Pest Details

Origin:

Native to Central America.

Biology:

This species is named for its occurrence on ornamental gumbo limbo, but it also attacks many other landscape plants including banana, olive, mango, palms, oaks, and numerous shrubs. It does not appear to be as devastating to the plants as some other imported species of whitefly, and so far the problem is primarily the sticky honeydew that drips from infested plants. It occurs in Florida.

Identification:

Adults are typical of whiteflies, with very small size, pure white bodies and wings, and resembling small moths. The immature stages are difficult to spot as the wax covering over the actual insect is fairly clear, but examining the lower surfaces of the leaves will show these tiny, flat specks. The most unusual characteristic of this species is the long, spiraling chains of white wax that coat the eggs and immature stages on the lower surface of the leaf.

Characteristicts Important to Control:

Numerous natural enemies will exist that may be present in sufficient numbers to manage the problem at a tolerable level. Insecticidal oils can be applied to infested leaf surfaces to coat and smother the feeding insects, but it must be thorough and the undersides of the leaves are especially important. Many natural and synthetic active ingredients are labeled for use on whitefly, and a systemic that can be applied to the soil may be very effective, moving the active ingredient up and into the foliage where it is ingested by the feeding insects. If the insects are noticed early even a hard stream of water may dislodge many of them, but this should be followed by an application of some kind of contact insecticide.

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