New strain of ficus whitefly identified in South Florida

A pair of silverleaf whiteflies, Bemisia tabaci, which measure about one-tenth of an inch long, feed on a watermelon leaf.

Courtesy United States Department of Agriculture

A pair of silverleaf whiteflies, Bemisia tabaci, which measure about one-tenth of an inch long, feed on a watermelon leaf.

This ficus leaf shows the whitish, bumpy casing residue of whiteflies as they become adults.

This ficus leaf shows the whitish, bumpy casing residue of whiteflies as they become adults.

FORT LAUDERDALE — Horticulture experts say a new strain of whiteflies is turning ficus leaves sticky and staining them.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel reports the new species is called Bondar's Nesting Whitefly. It was discovered about a month ago.

Officials say the whiteflies appear like while blotches on the top of ficus leaves.

Commercial horticulture agent Michael Orfanedes says the flies leave a sticky goo as they feed. The Broward County Extension agent says leads to black discoloration from sooty mold fungus.

Orfanedes says it's too early to know how much damage the whiteflies will cause. He says it is the third nuisance strain of whitefly to hit South Florida.

While he says the flies cause no harm to humans, it's "one more nail in the coffin" for ficus.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Stories

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features