Ficus Whitefly

Singhiella simplex

First observed in Homestead, FL in 2007, ficus whiteflySinghiella simplex, has since spread through Miami-Dade County and 16 other Florida counties. Ficus whitefly has become a serious pest quickly, affecting the health and aesthetics of valuable ficus trees and hedges. Whiteflies feed on the underside of leaves with their piercing mouthparts causing wilting, yellowing, leaf drop, and eventually ficus death.

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Treatment Strategy

The treatment strategy for ficus whitefly is determined in part by the severity of the infestation.

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Ficus Whitefly Treatment Option 1

Preventative or Light Infestations

Treating a plant to protect from white fly is very effective; however, treatment has to be applied at least annually. Plan on treating your plant for the long term as this pest is not expected to go away. Annual treatments require a soil-applied systemic insecticide such as Xytect . This product is absorbed by roots and works from inside the plant. It is applied at least one time per year to the soil at the base of the tree or hedge.

Application Type - Soil drench

DIY Product/Equipment Needed:

• Xytect

• Soil drench kit

• Measuring or diameter tape

• Bucket or watering can

• Gloves

Ficus Whitefly Treatment Option 2

Treatment Options for Heavy Infestation

If your plant is losing leaves, it is likely that the whiteflies have been present for at least 2-3 months. Long term systemic treatments take time to be effective, so spraying the foliage of your ficus with Up-Star® Gold will provide immediate kill of the insects on the plant. This will allow time for Xytect to move into the plant.  Xytect™ should be applied at the same time as the spray.

Application Type - Foliar spray

DIY Product/Equipment Needed:

• Up-Star® Gold

• Hand pump sprayer with wand

• Gloves

• Safety glasses

Ficus Whitefly Treatment Option 3

Another option is to apply Transtect to the soil. Transtect™ is a root absorbed systemic insecticide that moves into the plant quickly. Results can begin within a few days to a week on hedges, and within 2 weeks on large trees. If using Transtect™, follow up treatments with Xytect™ should take place in 6 months.

Application Type - Soil drench

DIY Product/Equipment Needed:

• Transtect

• Soil drench kit

• Measuring or diameter tape

• Bucket or watering can

• Gloves

Ficus Whitefly DIY Kit

Option 1

Application Type – Soil drench

DIY Product/Equipment Needed:

• Xytect

• Soil drench kit

• Measuring or diameter tape

• Bucket or watering can

• Gloves

Option 2

Application Type – Foliar spray

DIY Product/Equipment Needed:

• Up-Star® Gold

• Hand pump sprayer with wand

• Gloves

• Safety glasses

Option 3

Application Type - Soil drench

DIY Product/Equipment Needed:

• Transtect

• Soil drench kit

• Measuring or diameter tape

• Bucket or watering can

• Gloves

How Is It Spread?

Ficus whiteflies have at least three generations per year. Eggs hatch and crawlers wander around the leaf until they choose a feeding location. Once attached, crawlers become immobile, feeding in the same spot until they reach adulthood. This cycle takes approximately 30 days to complete. After becoming adults, they can fly to other ficus and lay their eggs. With up to three generations per year, populations can grow quickly.

Susceptible Trees

The ficus whitefly is most often found on weeping fig. It is also found on false banyan tree, banyan tree, Cuban laurel, strangler fig, fiddle-leaf fig, and banana-leaf fig. Ficus hedges are also highly susceptible.

Symptoms

• Wilting yellow leaves that eventually fall off the plant

• Defoliated plants

• Flying clouds of little white flies can be seen when an infested plant is disturbed

Lookalikes

Drought

Related/Similar Problems

Drought

Timing

Year round

Urgency

Moderate

Risk of Spreading

High

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