Civic Association & Garden Club of Palm Beach Event

The Civic Association and Garden Club of Palm Beach hosted a private tour of the magnificent gardens of the Society of the Four Arts.



(Please click here for information from the town of Palm Beach)

Ficus Whitefly: There is a pest attacking ficus trees and hedges in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties, Florida. This pest was identified as the fig (ficus) whitefly, Singhiella simplex, and is a new US continental record.
(click on image above for more
information on Ficus Whitefly)

Spiraling Whitefly: In March, 2009, a whitefly (Aleurodicus rugioperculatus Martin: Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae), was collected in Miami‐Dade County from gumbo limbo. This was the first report of this insect on the U.S. continent and it is believed to originate from Central America. Since the initial find, there have been numerous other reports, all in Miami‐Dade County. It will likely spread to other southern Florida counties.


 (click on image above for more
information about Spiraling Whitefly)

Silverleaf Whitefly:Both adult and nymphal silverleaf whiteflies feed on the lower surfaces of leaves by sucking sap with their piercing, sucking mouth-parts. Chlorotic spots may appear around feeding sites on the upper surfaces of leaves.

(click on image above for more
information about Silverleaf Whitefly)

Dr. Randy Hudson, Extension Entomologist, The University of Georgia, Department of Entomology, Tifton, GA 31793
Dr. David Adams, Extension Entomologist, The University of Georgia, Department of Entomology, Tifton, GA 31793
(Please click here, for information about alternative plantings )

Whitefly Task Force Meeting

On November 19th I attended the Palm Beach County Whitefly Task Force meetingand after two and a half hours of discussion and slides shown by the most eruditeetymologists in Florida, I came away awed at the work they are doing and the enormityof the pest problem in general. For starters 2 new invasive species arrive each month at the Miami Airport. It is bad for us but for the agricultural business it is a disaster. But this meeting was directed toward the whitefly and is the 3rd in a series which are aimed at educating landscape professionals, town maintenance people and pest control companies. What impressed me most about all the scientists was their willingness to listen to the problems of your landscaper and/or pest control company as well as the interchange of ideas that went on between everyone.

1. What has the task force accomplished so far?

Short and long term strategies are being developed and expanded by the task force to more effectively deal with the whitefly challenges. The University of Florida Extension has developed a website www.flwhitefly.org which focuses on whitefly issues of concern to landscape professionals, homeowners and the public. There is an interactive quiz that professionals may take. If they pass the quiz, they may download a certificate of completion and be included on a list of landscape professionals who have received training on Florida whitefly issues. You can go to the site to see if your landscaper/pest maintenance person is listed. 

2. What are the results of the Town of Palm Beach's efforts?

The town of Palm Beach has written a pest ordinance initially directed toward thewhitefly but the framework will be used in the future for all pests. The town has been more proactive than any other city in Florida in getting out as much information as there is and supported all the forums. The Garden Club and the Shiny Sheet have both been extremely helpful.

3. What is working and what is not working of our efforts?

Brett Madison, PB facility maintenance manager told us that the Town's 3000 treeshave had their 2nd round of treatment by injection which is proven to be moreeffective than drenching and better for the water table. Biological controls have been initiated but it has been hard to determine how successful they are, particularly here in Palm Beach where there is practically not a square foot uncontaminated by chemicals. Foliar sprays are minimally effective and expensive as they must be repeated often. Drenching the roots and lower part of ficus hedges is good, but for trees injection is better.

4. Where do we go from here?

First of all, the whitefly is here to stay. Some chemicals work on some plants some ofthe time. There is no one cure all. We can hope that biological controls willeventually be effective, but in the meantime the consensus is that you, thehomeowner, be proactive. Don't let your gardener TELL YOU what to do. It is up to you to educate him if need be. Don't listen to HOME DEPOT as they still recommend the wrong chemicals.And finally, Prof. Lance Osborne of the University of Florida has received a grant from the Dept. of Agriculture for $200,000 to further study biological controls for the whitefly.

by Polly Reed