Because of our location and weather, we have had more than our share of pest problems.
Recently I learned about a new one we have to contend with – Rogose Spiraling Whitefly. This pest affects over 60 plant species including Fuchsias, Geraniums, Coleus, Gardenias, Ligustrum, Citrus, and numerous greenhouse plants. It appears like a tiny white moth which sucks sap from leaves, leaving a white, waxy web-like substance (aka honeydew), allowing the formation of sooty mold fungus.
Not only is the affected plant unsightly, they prevent the leaves from functioning properly. They also hinder plant growth, and if untreated, can kill the plants.
There are numerous means of control; however, care must be exercised when treating for this pest to avoid destroying natural predators that eat the larvae.
For small infestations, wash them off with water. Or set out 3×5 bright yellow index cards coated with petroleum jelly spaced 3-5’ apart near susceptible plants. For larger outbreaks, you may need to use horticultural oil, an insecticidal soap, or a systemic insecticide.
Because there are typically 3 stages of insect development at one time, (eggs – larvae – adult), it may take a month or more to eradicate this pest.