Whitefly Infestation Information and Response Main Page
A new type of whitefly infestation on trees, palms, shrubs and fruits was identified in public areas and private properties in the Village of Key Biscayne in 2011. The gumbo limbo spiraling whitefly, a leaf-sucking insect, was first observed in Miami-Dade County on a gumbo limbo tree in March 2009. The pest is believed to originate in the Caribbean/Central America.
Since the insects have been seen on several types of trees and palms in South Florida they are now referred to as rugose spiraling whiteflies. This species is different from the ficus whitefly that defoliated ficus hedges throughout the area several years ago. According to Dr. Catharine Mannion, a Univeristy of Florida Associate Professor of Entemology and Extension Specialist based in Homestead, the type and amount of damage caused by rugose spiraling whiteflies is dependent on the plant, and different plants may show different symptoms of infestation. Leaf drop occurs in some plants but others do not drop their leaves at all.
In addition to Dr. Mannion, a recognized expert in whitefly research, the Village has enlisted the services of long-time Village Arborist John Sutton (www.suttonconsultingarborist.com) to identify, monitor and evaluate treatment options for vegetation in the Village infested with the rugose spiraling whitefly. Fred Hein, the Village's representative for Pest Control Contractor TruGreen, is also part of the team. These experts are working closely with staff in the Building, Zoning and Planning Department and its Public Works Division.
The following sections and links provide general information about the Rugose Spiraling Whitefly, the history of infestation in the Village of Key Biscayne as well as treatment efforts by the Village, outreach programs to educate property owners about the issue, and reports by experts partnering with Village officials to address the problems associated with the infestation. Information about proper tree pruning and when trees can be removed also are included. Village officials remind residents that illegal hatracking of trees is not a whitefly solution.
- General Information for Property Owners and Residents
- Outreach and Education: Workshops and Videos
- May 31, 2012: Whitefly and Hatracking Workshop featuring Dr. Mannion, Village Arborist John Sutton and BZP Director Jud Kurlancheek (held in the Island Room of the Community Center)
- June 16, 2011: View a Video Interview of Dr. Mannion at her lab in Homestead. She answers frequently answered questions about the whitefly infestation and treatment options. The interview also aired on Channel 77, the Village's public access cable channel.
- June 7, 2011: Rugose Spiraling Whitefly Workshop featuring Dr. Mannion (held in the Island Room of the Community Center)
- Reports and Updates by Village Consultants and Contractors
- August 23, 2012 Update: Issued Prior to First Quarterly Report on Natural Predator Pilot Program by Dr. Mannion
- January 24, 2012 Report: Effectiveness of Treatment Program initiated in August 2011 from Mr. Sutton and Mr. Hein
- Treatment Strategies Used by the Village for Infested Trees in the Public Right-of-Way and Parks
- Update 8/31/12: A free one-hour online training course on whitely management for pest control companies/contractors is offered by UF/IFAS and FDACS at the www.flwhitefly.org website (Course info available under Educational Material > For Professionals menu items)
- Update 8/31/12: Find professionals in Miami-Dade that have completed this training at the Florida Whitefly Training webpage (scroll down and select the Miami-Dade entry for individuals' names and companies).
- Tree Guidelines for Property Owners Issued by the Village and Miami-Dade County
- Updates Emailed to Residents on Village Treatment Efforts and Outcomes
- February 10, 2012
- August 1, 2011