Vol 125 (2012): Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society
Ornamental, Garden & Landscape

Rugose Spiraling Whitefly, a Sticky Situation in the Florida Keys

Kim E Gabel
University of Florida, IFAS, Monroe County Extension Service, 1100 Simonton Street, Suite 2-260, Key West, FL 33040
Published December 1, 2012
  • Rugose Spiraling Whiteflies,
  • beneficial wasp,
  • Encarsia guadalupae,
  • predatory beetle,
  • Nepasphis oculata


In the Florida Keys, the Rugose Spiraling Whitefly, Aleurodicus rugioperculatus, has become a “sticky” situation that is frustrating homeowners, landscapers, businesses, and governmental officials. The Monroe County Extension Agent has applied a variety of educational and control methods for dealing with this new insect pest. Educational approaches have followed both traditional Extension methods, such as: speaking on the radio, doing newspaper interviews, disseminating information through the internet, educating and utilizing the Master Gardeners, conducting site visits and holding workshop presentations Keyswide. Some non-traditional approaches have included presentations at City and County Commission meetings; developing an evaluation control method tip sheet for people to use to determine how effective or ineffective their control treatments are; and advising local college and high school students in developing a whitefly presentation and tri-folder brochure for use at the Key West Botanical Garden. Control methods also being developed or tested by the Agent include an experiment using aerated vermicompost tea as a root drench or as a foliar spray to determine its effectiveness in controlling the Rugose Spiraling Whitefly; and rearing and releasing the beneficial wasp, Encarsia guadalupae,and predatory beetle, Nepasphis oculata,along public right-of-ways and public parks.