The Ficus Whitefly - Damage & Controls

The Ficus Whitefly (ORDER: Hemiptera) is a devastating garden insect infesting and destroying hundreds of Residential and Commercial landscapes all over South Florida and your yards may be next. Most plants become so heavily infested in only days or a couple of weeks and without action from you, you’ll likely lose most of your luscious landscape - and thousands of dollars in replacement costs. Your property value will also suffer and Critter Control just applied it’s lifesaving treatment as a Preventative or Curative treatment - What Now?

A generalized life cycle of the whitefly is as follows: The eggs are laid on the undersides of the leaves and hatch in 4 to 12 days into active, six legged nymphs (crawlers). The crawlers move about for several hours, then insert their mouthparts into the leaves and remain in one place for the rest of their immature stages. After molting three times they pupate (resting stage) and are transformed into the adult. The length of the life cycle from egg to adult varies considerably, requiring from 6 weeks to 6 months (winter generation). There are three generations of whiteflies in Florida.

Whiteflies have piercing-sucking mouthparts with which they puncture the leaf and suck the plant juices. Top sides of leaves on infested plants become pale or spotted due to these insects feeding on the undersides of the leaves. Whiteflies as well as soft scales, mealybugs, and aphids excrete large amounts of honeydew which provides an excellent medium for the growth of a black fungus called sooty mold. Besides being unattractive, sooty mold may interfere with photosynthesis, retard the growth of the plant, and cause early leaf drop. Sooty mold usually weathers away following control of the insect infestation. Ants feed on the honeydew and when ants are noticed, plants should be examined closely for these sucking pests.

Treatment and Control Methods vary depending on both the actual species (75 variations have been identified) but largely follow the 5 Steps outlined below:

1. Full Inspection and evaluation of type and degree of infestation, if any. Should NO active populations be found, Critter Control will still complete each step as a PREVENTATIVE application to assure your landscape plants do not become infested between your next services.

2. Dead leaves and other debris is blown away from underneath your planted beds to allow for a clear area of exposed soil for the next application steps.

3. A granular IGR (Insect Growth Regulator) insecticide is broadcast at the root area of your plants that is designed to be absorbed into the plant to act as a 'poison' killing any sucking-insect that pierces the plant leaf - this is your defense against Whitefly becoming established for up tp 60 days, provided that continued inspection and service is performed ongoing.

4. An Ultra-Low-Volume (ULV) misting spray is applied to the entire canopy of your plantings that will completely envelop every leaf of your plants, instantly killing any adult and nympal stages already on your plants and allow for many days of continued protection.

5. A soil drenching of the root area of your plants with a heavy spray of liquid fertilizer (20-20-20) and other pesticide to wash-in the granular IGR to activate it's absorbsion into the plant as well as provide an 'Energy Boost' to your plants improved health and faster recovery.

What You Need To Know and To Provide As The Homeowner

  • Continued Vigilance: Whitefllies are continuosly flying into your property from other areas and can attack your plants at anytime. With Critter Controls Whitefly Program in place, you're protected against any immediate damage but the sooner you can report to us any concern, the sooner we can respond.
  • Weather Awareness: Heavy periods of rain may wash away any protective layers of treatment, especially if those rains caused 'wash-out' from beneath your planted beds. Contact us if you feel this has happened.
  • Proper Watering / Drought: Plants need a regular and sufficient amount of water to grow and develop a full and lush growth. Negected watering especially during dryer months, can predispose your plants to rapid deterioration if attacked by any insect, especially the Whitefly. Your Critter Control specialist will point out and advise on any un-healthy conditions observed during our followup services, including fertilization needs.

We provide Ficus Whitefly for the following cities: Coconut Creek, Cooper City, Coral Springs, Dania Beach, Davie, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Ft. Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Hillsboro Beach, Hollywood, Lauderdale Lakes, Lauderdale-by-the-sea, Lauderhill, Lazy Lake, Lighthouse Point, Margate, Miramar, North Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Parkland, Pembroke Park, Pembroke Pines, Plantation, Pompano Beach, Ranches, Sea Ranch Lakes, Southwest Ranches, Sunrise, Tamarac, West Park, Weston, Wilton Manors