Woolly Whitefly

Aleurothrixus floccosus

Woolly Whitefly, Citrus Whitefly, Flocculent Whitefly

Aleurothrixus floccosus by VictorCegarra (CC BY-SA 4.0)
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A close up photo of some woolly whitefly on the back of a leaf Aleurothrixus floccosus
Aleurothrixus floccosus by VictorCegarra (CC BY-SA 4.0)
1 of 6
Despite their names, Whiteflies aren't true flies. They resemble tiny, pale white moths, when in fact, they're bugs. They're more closely related to Scale insects and Aphids. Woolly Whitefly shows a strong preference for Citrus plants, especially lemon. The main symptoms of Whitefly infestations include wilting, leaf drop, with sweet sticky honeydew and black sooty mould on leaves.

Traits

Whiteflies are common pests in the garden, especially on plants grown under glass.
Whiteflies possess many natural enemies to help keep them under control!

Appearance

Adults: Woolly Whitefly insects are tiny; their wingspans measure just under 8 mm. They look like tiny moths, covered in white, woolly wax. When in large groups, whitefly can appear like wool or fluff that forms a layer beneath leaves of host plants. Sometimes the wax deposit causes black mould to grow, and this can sometimes attract secondary bacterial infections. Pupae: When pupae, Whitefly show similarities to scale insects, which look like flat discs stuck underneath leaves. Like a scale, they can't move. Eggs: Whitefly eggs are tiny and yellow and can be found under the leaves if the host. Whitefly eggs are laid in a circular arrangement.

Symptoms

Whitefly eggs are typically laid in circles, beneath the leaves. Wilting leaves followed by early leaf drop. Together with aphids, whiteflies can transmit viral diseases to plants. Feeding causes stunted growth, as well as curling leaves. Honeydew may be found on the upper surfaces of leaves. Honeydew can result in secondary infections in the form of black mould. Ants are attracted to Honeydew and can sometimes make an infestation worse.

Activity

Diurnal

Personality

Order

Hemiptera

Family

Aleyrodidae

Metamorphosis

Incomplete

Distribution

Worldwide

Biological treatment

Whitefly infestations tend to be more problematic indoors, for example, in a glasshouse setting. Planting rhubarb in greenhouses is thought to deter whitefly. Whitefly eggs can be found underneath the leaves of plants, so these areas should be inspected regularly. Remove Whitefly eggs with a cloth and soapy water or rubbing alcohol. Any spacing between plants should be kept clear of weeds and debris. The use of netting can sometimes improve protection with garden plants. For lighter infestations, plants can be gently hosed down to remove whitefly and eggs. Ant traps placed near affected plants will aid controlling any secondary infestations. Whiteflies are drawn to the colour yellow. You can use yellow cards or sticky traps to attract whitefly and monitor the infestation level. Insecticidal soaps and neem oil can give some control over whitefly, and it's less harmful to the environment when compared with pesticides. Bottle labels should be read carefully. Oils can react badly with high temperatures and burn the surfaces of plants. Beneficial garden creatures such as beetles, wasps, lacewings and spiders will eat whiteflies. These can be attracted into the garden using a few simple tricks, such as incorporating insect hotels or by letting parts of the garden grow a little wild. Try catching ladybugs and placing them on infested plants.

Chemical treatment

Treating Whitefly infestations with chemical alternatives usually are discouraged due to the insects' ability to develop resistance quickly.

Attracts

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