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Homeowners work hard to build their perfect backyard oasis (or front yard retreat). Landscaping itself is a pastime for many, while others simply want to enjoy the fruits of their labor and spend time outdoors. But here in Florida, there is a formidable enemy working just as hard as you and your neighbors to undo it all.
We’re talking about whiteflies, a pest – and a growing problem in the state – that affects a wide variety of palms and other native trees. These tiny white-winged insects tap into trees to feed on them, introducing their toxic saliva and causing major damage. And even more disturbing, whiteflies carry and can transmit many diseases. So, what’s the key to getting rid of these tiny terrors and getting back your beautiful landscape? Follow the steps below to diagnose and fix the problem.

1. Know the signs.

If there is a whitefly problem in your community, the plants will let you know. There are dozens of species found in Florida, and they can affect plants differently. Ficus hedges in particular are especially susceptible to the ravages of this pest – if your ficus hedges are scrawny and sick-looking, try treating them for whiteflies instead of spending thousands of dollars on replacements. 

As for other plants, in addition to stunted growth, yellowing leaves and leaf drop, keep your eye out for these telltale signs:
  • White, wooly wax in spiral patterns on the underside of leaves
  • “Honeydew,” a sticky substance, coating leaves 
  • Dark, sooty mold on leaves (that often spreads elsewhere)

2. Call the experts.

The key to controlling whiteflies is to take action right away, and a good community association should be able to provide its residents with resources and solutions. At the first sign of any of the above symptoms, contact a pest control professional for an inspection. Your community association management company can help you by providing a recommendation for a local, reliable and experienced pest control company.

3. Treat it right.

Pest control pros have a range of treatments at their disposal. From treating bark and spraying foliage to drenching roots and injecting the trunk, each remedy offers varying degrees of speed, environmental impact and long-term results. If whiteflies have nested in your Florida community, it’s time to meet them with full force. To learn more about preventing and controlling whiteflies – and keeping your community beautiful year-round – contact FirstService Residential, Florida’s leading community association management company, today.
Monday September 08, 2014