Before treating, you should be sure that the symptoms in your landscaping are actually caused by the spiraling whitefly instead of other pests or diseases. The whitish coating on leaves could also be powdery mildew, which is sometimes mistaken for spiraling whitefly infestation. A pest control professional will be able to identify the difference between spiraling whitefly wax and powdery mildew.
This is the fifth of ten articles from a Complete Guide to the Rugose Spiraling Whitefly: 10 Things You Need to Know about this New Florida Pest, a free eBook.
Assuming that you have a spiraling whitefly infestation, what should you do? You may be tempted to remove the plant entirely, but this may be too drastic. Take comfort in knowing that most plants can be treated, and you will likely not need to remove them.
If you only have a small plant or two that is covered with the white, waxy substance, you may try to solve the problem by yourself. Wash the plants off with water, removing all the white substance. Insecticidal soap may offer additional help in removing the bug.
What Not to Do
If you have a spiraling whitefly infestation, it’s important not to haphazardly apply pesticides. Incorrect use of pesticides can harm plants, water, people, or pets. Sometimes it can even harm the wrong bugs! Ladybird beetles (ladybugs), for example, eat spiraling whiteflies and other plant pests. Ideally you want to keep ladybugs and other natural predators alive.
Doing nothing, and waiting for natural predators to kill off the whiteflies, may not be the best course of action either. If predators can’t completely kill the whiteflies, they could continue to spread and cause damage.