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Spiral Whitefly In Florida


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#1 Steve the palmreader

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 02:54 AM

Spiral white is causing alot of problems on Coconuts in Florida. Does anyone have any ideas on how to control it? Also will it kill the palm?
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#2 TikiRick

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 05:30 AM

Steve,

This infestation is horrible. I am currently battling croton scale, mealy bug epidemic, ganoderma, and not sprial white fly.
I have noted it on coconuts, and generally EVERY palm species I have. At first I thought it was only attracted to pinnate palms, but I was wrong. I now see it on palmate Coccothrinax, Thrinax, Livistona, and Pritchardia. Every palm in my collection has varying degrees of sprial white fly infestation.
I can see them in the air, and my pool surface is coated with ones that get stuck on the water and drown.

Now...what to do? I have done a bit of research, and I always like to see what I can do without chemicals first. As I have a koi pond and outdoor aviaries with parrots, this is the best, WHEN and IF anything without chemicals can work. I did purchase a small hose end sprayer that forces the water into a high pressured jet. With this I have been somewhat successful in spraying the undersides of the fronds free of the "nests."

After this I had to resort to Merit. This product is also called Bayers 3:1 available at most of your box stores as a hose end feeder sprayer. Imidocloprid is the active ingredient.
Since many of the palms are so high, that I can not reach with a sprayer, I have opted for a soil drench. With the soil drench, I have added a bit of a water soluble nitrogen fertilizer (Shultz, Miracle Grow, etc.) to open the roots and draw up the imidocloprid more rapidly. Multiple spraying is necessary, and this product is not inexpensive. A soil drench is a systemic approach, drawing the chemical into the fluids of the tree. The whitefly has a distaste for it and flies off.

Furthermore, I wonder if this is all in vain. If your neighbors on both sides, the entire neighborhood, and city are infested, it may be a losing battle against whitefly.

Can it kill a palm? Yes. They essentially chew and suck all of the sap out of the frond, robbing it of the hydration and nutrients necessary for growth. You may note what looks like necrotic fronds and then a sticky mess beneath those infected palms. All of my plants beneath the palms are sticky.

I hope this helps...a bit. It is very frustrating to see swarms of whitefly in the garden.

Does anyone know the origin of this pest? :huh:
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Rick Leitner
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
26.07N/80.15W
Zone 10B
Average Annual Low 67 F
Average Annual High 84 F
Average Annual Rainfall 62"

Riverfront exposure, 1 mile from Atlantic Ocean
Part time in the western mountains of North Carolina
Gratefully, the best of both worlds!

#3 virtualpalm

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 05:45 AM

Like Rick said, the Rugose Spiraling Whitefly will not kill the palms, but it does make a huge sticky mess in addition to being quite unsightly. We have been dealing with it in several of our customers' gardens for a couple years, and we have found that alternating between Aloft and Safari provides excellent long-term systemic control. Merit does work as well, but the granules take a lot of water to activate and the drench doesn't seem to stick around all that long for the roots to take up the active ingredient. As for trying to control it being in vain, if you use a good systemic insecticide you should be good for a few months between applications. You may also offer to treat your neighbors' trees/palms!

Jody
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#4 Keith in SoJax

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 06:04 AM

Guys,
Here's a contact that might help too. She's @ Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead.

Dr Katherine Mannion
Title - Associate Professor
Department - Entomology & Nematology
Specialty - Ornamental Plant Entomology
Telephone - 305-246-7001 Ext. 220
Suncom - 478-7001 x 220
E-maill - cmannion@ufl.edu
Web site - http://trec.ifas.ufl.edu/mannion

It'd be nice to introduce some predators too. For info on that, you might try Dr Lance Osborn at the UF Mid Fl Research and Education center in Apopka. He has put a ton of time into studying biological control of pests, though I don't know if he's worked on the Rugose Spiraling Whitefly.

As a resident of FL that makes a living in Agriculture and Ornamental Horticulture, I'd like to note that I cannot believe the number of invasive exotic pests that have become established in FL in the last 10 years. Its truly stunning!
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Winter Haven, FL, about 1 hour drive (60 miles/100 km) from both Tampa and Orlando
Summers are great, 90f/32c in the day & 70f/21c at night with plentiful rain & sun
Winters are subtropical with occasional frosts and freezes. Tropical cyclones happen.
Every 20 years or so it gets cold enough to kill arborescent Ficus benjamina to the ground.
We have a few Royal palms in the warm microclimates.

#5 LJG

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 06:48 AM

I know this is a different whitefly then the Giant Whitefly that use to be bad in California. Here I am able to use a biological control on whitefly and many others pest (mostly chewing however, not sucking). It is called Spinosad. I wonder if it would work for you guys? If infestation is bad people use Greelights Tree and Shrub with Safari. It is not as dangerous as Imidocloprid.
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Len

Vista, CA (Zone 10a)
Shadowridge Area

"Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are."
-- Alfred Austin

#6 Keith in SoJax

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 07:20 AM

Len, Spinosad is not available in the 3 southeast FL counties because of Thrips resistance. The registrant (Dow) voluntarily withdrew those counties hoping the Thrips population would slowly lose their acquired resistance. The Neonicitinoids (like Safari) are excellent products but they should be used strictly according to the label otherwise the pests become resistant to them as well. Illustrating that point, there are whitefly populations that have cross resistance to the neonicitinoids (Safari, imidacloprid, etc) and the synthetic pyrethroid category as well as the organophosphates like Orthene. Whiteflies have a powerful ability to become resistant to insecticides (though it's been my experience that thrips are even worse). Thats why I like the idea of introducing predators to reduce the numbers in an region. With a smaller gene pool, it's harder to select a resistant strain. I'm glad the Spinosad worked for you on whitefly. It sounds like something else is also helping to control the Giant Whitefly in your region (we have them here too!). Thats great news. Maybe your helper will establish at meaningful levels here too. We need all the help we can get because Miami is the port of entry for virtually every new invasive species because its the place where, by far, the most plant material imported to the US goes through customs. You have the second largest port of entry in Los Angelas so SoCal is also quite vulnerable. The northern ports of entry are in somewhat less hospitable climates for pests originating in the tropics and subtropics so it doesn't seem to be as serious an issue. However, Emerald Ash Borer and Hemlock Adeldidge almost certainly were imported to the north. The same is almost certainly the case for the Brown Marmorated Stink bug too as it appears it entered thorough the port of Baltimore.
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Winter Haven, FL, about 1 hour drive (60 miles/100 km) from both Tampa and Orlando
Summers are great, 90f/32c in the day & 70f/21c at night with plentiful rain & sun
Winters are subtropical with occasional frosts and freezes. Tropical cyclones happen.
Every 20 years or so it gets cold enough to kill arborescent Ficus benjamina to the ground.
We have a few Royal palms in the warm microclimates.

#7 Steve the palmreader

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 04:17 PM

thanks for all the (bad) news and info it looks like it is a bad problem. It looks like a large scale problem.I hope it works it self out .So far it is only hurting my Coconuts......Ouch
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#8 LJG

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 07:16 PM

Len, Spinosad is not available in the 3 southeast FL counties because of Thrips resistance. The registrant (Dow) voluntarily withdrew those counties hoping the Thrips population would slowly lose their acquired resistance. The Neonicitinoids (like Safari) are excellent products but they should be used strictly according to the label otherwise the pests become resistant to them as well. Illustrating that point, there are whitefly populations that have cross resistance to the neonicitinoids (Safari, imidacloprid, etc) and the synthetic pyrethroid category as well as the organophosphates like Orthene. Whiteflies have a powerful ability to become resistant to insecticides (though it's been my experience that thrips are even worse). Thats why I like the idea of introducing predators to reduce the numbers in an region. With a smaller gene pool, it's harder to select a resistant strain. I'm glad the Spinosad worked for you on whitefly. It sounds like something else is also helping to control the Giant Whitefly in your region (we have them here too!). Thats great news. Maybe your helper will establish at meaningful levels here too. We need all the help we can get because Miami is the port of entry for virtually every new invasive species because its the place where, by far, the most plant material imported to the US goes through customs. You have the second largest port of entry in Los Angelas so SoCal is also quite vulnerable. The northern ports of entry are in somewhat less hospitable climates for pests originating in the tropics and subtropics so it doesn't seem to be as serious an issue. However, Emerald Ash Borer and Hemlock Adeldidge almost certainly were imported to the north. The same is almost certainly the case for the Brown Marmorated Stink bug too as it appears it entered thorough the port of Baltimore.


Like mites, whiteflies sure know how to quickly adapt. Here in California the introduction of a parasitic wasp pretty much has put the Giant White Fly into check. I hardly ever see it anymore. I have read there is a parasitic wasp from Asia that is being introduced to work the stink bug issue on the east coast.
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Len

Vista, CA (Zone 10a)
Shadowridge Area

"Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are."
-- Alfred Austin

#9 mnorell

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 07:30 PM

This is an interesting problem and one I haven't really read up on, but I see it all over in Key West, but it doesn't seem to be affecting anything there other than Gumbo Limbo trees. People are going nuts in KW trying to deal with the sooty mold that is ruining sidewalks, and the KW/Monroe County govt. is telling everyone not to prune their trees due to their protected status and/or the local tree-pruning permit laws (which are very strict in Monroe County). What I think is interesting is that this seems at its worst in urban environments. It is truly a horrible problem in KW. I have also seen it in Gumbo Limbos in Marathon. But here in the Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key, where we have native Gumbo Limbos all over the place, including in my backyard, I have absolutely no problem. Also no problem on the palms. I do see large whiteflies flying around me in the garden (and I don't know if these are the 'spiraling' species), but never any infestations on anything. I was told by someone that they are seeing problems in the Eden Pines subdivision on the west side of Big Pine, which is a much more urban/populated and low-vegetation-density area amidst a series of canals. It makes me think that there's something in the undisturbed pine-rockland and hammock environments we have here in the refuge that is naturally deterring or taking care of the problem. I use absolutely no pesticide on anything, and I believe my neighbors for the most part have the same attitude. So I wonder if the use of pesticides, as well as the lack of a complete native ecosystem, are giving the whiteflies an advantage?

Also, I'm curious why the entomologists here in FL haven't investigated the use of parisitic wasps for control? Or perhaps they have and it's just very slow to get them approved for release? I remember very well in California in the early '90s when we had the horrific infestation of Ash Whitefly, and the entomologists at UCR got a parisitic wasp fast-tracked and released. The problem, which had been every bit as horrible in L.A. as the spiraling whitefly has been down here, was taken care of within weeks. Is there not a similar wasp that can destroy this spiraling whitefly? I'm getting the idea that there are issues in Florida with the release of controlling predators. For example, I don't think the critter that was released in Hawai'i to control the Erythrina gall wasp has been released or approved in Florida as of yet, though as I understand it the gall wasp is here. It would be interesting to hear the skinny on the attitudes here relating to such methods of control.

In my opinion, there's far too much pesticide use in general in this country. Even various master gardener programs still "educate" individuals on the proper pesticides and chemicals to use to control insect pests, without addressing or encouraging IPM and natural ecosystem methods. I purposely never use any insecticides in order to maintain a natural balance of predators in the landscape. Pesticides in the vast majority of cases have no ability to discern between 'good' and 'bad' insects and the overall damage can be remarkably destructive in a larger context. As a good example, I believe people are still spraying Cycas spp. here against the Asian cycad scale with various poisons and chemicals, despite the fact that Tom Broome (Cycad Society) and now many others after him have demonstrated that the use of coffee on and around the plant will bring these nasty pests to a quick end.

Edited by mnorell, 30 March 2012 - 07:31 PM.

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Michael Norell

Big Pine Key, Florida | 24 40' N 81 21' W | elev. 3 ft.
Zone 11b | Calcareous substrate
60-year avg annual min. approx. 48F
Jan avg approx. 65/75F, July 83/88F
Historical extreme low: approx. 41F

Natchez, Mississippi | 31 33' N 91 24' W | elev. 220 ft.
zone 9a | Downtown/river-adjacent microclimate | Loess substrate
80-year avg annual min. approx. 23F / Last 7 winters: 24 | 27 | 22.8 | 23.3 | 24.1 | 18.4F | 22.7F (2010-11) / airport/outlying area: 8b/19F annual min
Jan avg approx. 43/61F, July 73/93F
Historical extreme lows: 2.5F 1899; 4F 1940; 5F 1989

#10 Moose

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 09:29 AM

The Gumbo Limbo in the Coral Gables/Pinecrest areas are heavily infested. I am having difficulty finding trees that are not affected. New spring growth is being "re-infested". Unsure how many seasons these trees can hang on until they die due to insufficent carbohydrate production. Never seen a native tree species get hammered so bad.


I have not seen if the native stands are affected yet. Only in the urban areas. Unfortunately, it may be a short period of time. Heavy white fly infestations in Key West - it will be in Big Pine Key soon. :(
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Coral Gables, FL 8 miles North of Fairchild USDA Zone 10B

#11 spockvr6

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:16 AM

thanks for all the (bad) news and info it looks like it is a bad problem. It looks like a large scale problem.I hope it works it self out .So far it is only hurting my Coconuts......Ouch


Steve-

I had a similar problem in my yard in Bokeelia. The whiteflies came in pretty hard. It is shocking how quickly that can destroy a canopy of leaves. They went right to the Coconuts and before the infestation was stopped, I lost probably half the fronds on a few of my palms. I also noticed them going after Hyophorbe, Dypsis and Adonidia, but to a much lower degree than the Coconuts.

I sprayed all the leaves down with a very heavy dose of Malathion, which is not an easy task as some of the leaves are up rather high. So, needless to say, I got drenched with insecticide myself as I struggled on a ladder to try and get good coverage. Rusty also came by and additionally sprayed a couple of Coconuts I have out front as well, with another topical insecticide.

The good news is that the Malathion worked very well. The palms are all now 99% free of the damn pests. The bad news is I probably shaved about 10 years off my life with the amount of poison I sprayed all over myself.

Going forward I am using a soil drench as a systemic that Rusty gave me and I applied the first dose last weekend. I am hoping that this will keep them at bay.
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Larry
Palm Harbor, FL 9b/10a
Bokeelia, FL 10b

#12 LJG

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:45 AM

I hate to admit it but I have done the same thing - on a few occasions. Well, it is not all bad news Larry. Malathion has a short half life and the body breaks can down in a day :)
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Len

Vista, CA (Zone 10a)
Shadowridge Area

"Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are."
-- Alfred Austin

#13 Jastin

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 07:20 AM

Im taking a class at the local college here on plant pest control (IPM). We just had a speaker come last night and talk about White fly. Almost every pest has a predator. I'm to the natural control because I have little kids that get into everything. If you spray for the pest you will likely kill the beneficial insect as well which means you will have to keep spraying. I'm not sure about this white fly but I know they are a mess.

Mechanical control - You can use a shop vac to clean them up or spray them with a hose. That would be the best was to build your foundation of getting rid of them.

Biological control - The Encarsia wasp. Usually they will already be on the plant, trying to kill everything. If you can find it, share that branch or leaf with all your other plants. because you got a bunch off with spraying it will help with the process of the wasp. Mealybug destroyer, Lacewing will eat everything and fast!!

Horticulture oil
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#14 rozpalm

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 10:06 AM

I have them in my coconuts (very infested) and found some on a Copernicia macroglossa and a Pseudophoenix sargentii. I first discovered them about 8 months ago on my sargentii. I first tried Neem oil which had limited impact and then I followed it up with Merit 75% which seemed to knock them out after two treatments a month apart.

Has anyone tried the trunk treatment recommended by Safari for spiral white fly on dicots on palms? I assume that the trunk treatment won't work like it does on a dicot which quickly absorbs the Safari into its vascular system? If the Safari trunk treatment does not work for palms, I assume the easiest way to get it or Merit absorbed systemically in a palm would be to spray the canopy? I would love to know another way, since I will probably have to hire someone with a professional grade sprayer to reach them (they are over 40' tall).
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Ron
Wellington, Florida
Zone 11 in my mind
Zone 10a 9a in reality
13miles West of the Atlantic in Palm Beach County

#15 virtualpalm

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 12:33 PM

For those here in south Florida, I just received this notice of an upcoming whitefly management course at the Miami-Dade Extension office in Homestead later this month:
--------------------
Hi Everybody:

Summers is here and also are the whiteflies! What is the best way to manage it? Its time for another seminar about Whitefly Management in the Landscape. Mark your calendar for April 20th from 9:30 am to 1:00 pm at the Miami-Dade Extension office (18710 SW 288 St, Homestead, FL 33030). Attached is the program with all the details. An update will be provided by University faculty and commercial vendors. Just fill out the form and fax or mail it to us. CEUs will be available for pesticide holders (FDACS), arborist (ISA), FNGLA, and LIAF.

When: April 20th from 9:30 1:00
Where: Miami Dade Extension office (189710 SW 288 St., Homestead, FL 33030)
Title: Whitefly Management in the Landscape

Regards,


Henry Mayer, M.S.
Commercial Urban Horticulture Agent
UF/Miami-Dade County Extension
Sustainability, Planning and Economic Enhancement (SPEED)
18710 SW 288 St.

Homestead, FL 33030-2309
Tel: 305-248-3311 Ext. 231
Fax: 305-246-2932

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#16 Rusty on Pine Is.

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 01:01 PM

I have them in my coconuts (very infested) and found some on a Copernicia macroglossa and a Pseudophoenix sargentii. I first discovered them about 8 months ago on my sargentii. I first tried Neem oil which had limited impact and then I followed it up with Merit 75% which seemed to knock them out after two treatments a month apart.

Has anyone tried the trunk treatment recommended by Safari for spiral white fly on dicots on palms? I assume that the trunk treatment won't work like it does on a dicot which quickly absorbs the Safari into its vascular system? If the Safari trunk treatment does not work for palms, I assume the easiest way to get it or Merit absorbed systemically in a palm would be to spray the canopy? I would love to know another way, since I will probably have to hire someone with a professional grade sprayer to reach them (they are over 40' tall).



Ron, i have found that imidacloprid takes between 1.5 and 3 months to completely translocate in large (3ft DBH and higher) dicots.....this was done professionally for more than a few years, and before the current research has surfaced.

My experience with palms is somewhat more limited...i have found the uptake to be comparable with dicots, and despite the lack of vascular cambium, the rate of trans-location to be just as, if not more rapid in palms as in dicots.

Spraying the product is at best stop gap, in that the trans-location is incomplete at best, and the concentration is sub-par given the limitations of the application technique.....and, spraying has the potential of impacting beneficials as well.

That being said, I see this as a make or break action, warranted if the palm is in danger of imminent decline, and i do attempt to abort any inflorescence on any of my palms that i treat.

Rusty
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Rusty Bell
Pine Island - the Ex-Pat part of Lee County, Fl , USA
Zone 10b, life in the subs!...except when it isn't....

#17 LJG

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 01:57 PM


I have them in my coconuts (very infested) and found some on a Copernicia macroglossa and a Pseudophoenix sargentii. I first discovered them about 8 months ago on my sargentii. I first tried Neem oil which had limited impact and then I followed it up with Merit 75% which seemed to knock them out after two treatments a month apart.

Has anyone tried the trunk treatment recommended by Safari for spiral white fly on dicots on palms? I assume that the trunk treatment won't work like it does on a dicot which quickly absorbs the Safari into its vascular system? If the Safari trunk treatment does not work for palms, I assume the easiest way to get it or Merit absorbed systemically in a palm would be to spray the canopy? I would love to know another way, since I will probably have to hire someone with a professional grade sprayer to reach them (they are over 40' tall).



Ron, i have found that imidacloprid takes between 1.5 and 3 months to completely translocate in large (3ft DBH and higher) dicots.....this was done professionally for more than a few years, and before the current research has surfaced.

My experience with palms is somewhat more limited...i have found the uptake to be comparable with dicots, and despite the lack of vascular cambium, the rate of trans-location to be just as, if not more rapid in palms as in dicots.

Spraying the product is at best stop gap, in that the trans-location is incomplete at best, and the concentration is sub-par given the limitations of the application technique.....and, spraying has the potential of impacting beneficials as well.

That being said, I see this as a make or break action, warranted if the palm is in danger of imminent decline, and i do attempt to abort any inflorescence on any of my palms that i treat.

Rusty


This is odd as I see the results on my trees in days. Palms even quicker when I use it to knock out a heavy mealy infestation in pots in the greenhouse.
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Len

Vista, CA (Zone 10a)
Shadowridge Area

"Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are."
-- Alfred Austin

#18 TikiRick

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 02:55 PM

I have ordered three installments of green lacewing. It has proven beneficial for whitefly. The larvae of the green lace wing devour whitefly. It's the natural approach and worth a shot.
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Rick Leitner
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
26.07N/80.15W
Zone 10B
Average Annual Low 67 F
Average Annual High 84 F
Average Annual Rainfall 62"

Riverfront exposure, 1 mile from Atlantic Ocean
Part time in the western mountains of North Carolina
Gratefully, the best of both worlds!

#19 Moose

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:35 PM

There is a street in the north area of Coral Gables that are lined with Gumbo Limbo heavily infested with whitefly. When the whitefly exhausted its supply of tender green leaves on the Gumbo Limbo, they moved onto this poor old specimen, Pritchardia pacifica. The palm is just covered with sooty mold now. All those cold events that this palm had to endure to achieve this size and now its getting the crap beat out of it by whitefly. :rant:



Pritchardia pacifica.JPG




Whitefly = :evil:
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Coral Gables, FL 8 miles North of Fairchild USDA Zone 10B

#20 ariscott

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:41 PM

We just have spiralling white fly introduced from Qld a few years ago :angry: but so far I only saw it on my guava trees. I am not quite sure it is the same as the one you got though. I have never seen them on palms. The NT government has released special wasp that eat this insect and it seems to work to control the number.

Regards, Ari :)
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Ari & Scott

Darwin, NT, Australia
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#21 TikiRick

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:37 PM

Where's a good friggin wasp when you need one?
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Rick Leitner
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
26.07N/80.15W
Zone 10B
Average Annual Low 67 F
Average Annual High 84 F
Average Annual Rainfall 62"

Riverfront exposure, 1 mile from Atlantic Ocean
Part time in the western mountains of North Carolina
Gratefully, the best of both worlds!




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