Our State Butterfly - Zebra Longwing
Fragrant Summer Landscape Tradition
New Whitefly Threat in Palm Beach County
In May 2016, for the first time the pesticide resistant silverleaf whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) Q-Biotype has been found established in Florida (Palm Beach County) landscapes. Another genetically different whitefly that looks exactly the same, called the B-Biotype came into Florida around 1996 and created havoc for nursery poinsettia and commercial vegetable production by displacing the original “A-Biotype.” Since then, the neonicotinoid insecticides helped manage it and other whiteflies.
The Q-Biotype (we will just call it Q whitefly for the remainder of this document) developed in the Mediterranean region of Europe likely due to their intensive form of vegetable production. All of the biotypes of silverleaf whitefly look exactly alike. They can only be differentiated by genetic testing – and sometimes by their sensitivity to, or tolerance of certain insecticides. The genetic tools were not available in the mid-1990’s to reduce the confusion about the taxonomy of these insects back then. Old names like sweetpotato whitefly and Bemisia argentifolii can still be found in documents available on the web.
As of June 1, 2016, the Q whitefly has been positively identified in landscapes in Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Beach, Boca Raton and western Boynton Beach. That is a broad area and implies that the Q whitefly is probably more widespread throughout the county – although, we will have to wait and see on that. Interestingly, only B-Biotypes have been found so far in Broward and Monroe Counties, although they are also experiencing unusually high silverleaf whitefly control problems in spots. Also of note is that Q whitefly transmitted viruses have been devastating vegetable production in some areas of the world. Silverleaf whitefly has greater than 900 known host plants and can transmit more than 100 plant viruses. So far, locally we have seen the Q whiteflies mostly on hibiscus and crossandra in landscapes. The whitefly transmits at least two common tomato viruses in Florida, and one common pepper virus. In fact, if you grow garden tomatoes in Palm Beach County, you probably have had tomato yellow leaf curl virus transmitted the B-Biotype on them in the past. Viruses cannot be treated in vegetables, and must be controlled by managing the insects and destroying the plants. Thankfully, we are at the end of tomato and pepper commercial production for this season, but you can see the implications for next season if limited effective insecticides are available for this difficult to manage pest.
Recommendations for landscape management are being developed and evolving. Residents can use repeat applications of insecticidal soaps or oils to obtain some control. Be sure to completely cover all leaf surfaces and avoid spraying during the hot parts of the day. If you are using other common insecticides and still not getting control, feel free to contact our Master Gardener Hotline during normal business hours, Monday through Friday excluding holidays at 561.233.1750 or email firstname.lastname@example.org The Master Gardeners can also help you identify if you actually have silverleaf whitefly, or some other insect.
Websites for Additional Information
How to Send a Sample if You Suspect Q Whiteflies: http://www.pbcgov.com/coextension/horticulture/whitefly/pdf/Publication%206.pdf
How to Tell if You Have Bemisia Whiteflies: http://www.pbcgov.com/coextension/horticulture/whitefly/pdf/Publication%203%20-%20final%20version.pdf
Pepper Variety Evaluation
Zika Mosquito-Transmitted Virus
The Zika virus is a mosquito-transmitted disease that is causing concern in Florida and around the world. Click below for frequently asked questions, risks of the virus, how to avoid it, and other information.
“New! 2016 Worker Protection Standard (WPS) Revisions Information Web Page”
The Worker Protection Standard (WPS) applies to farm, forest, nursery and, greenhouse operations that produce agricultural plants. Revisions to the WPS, made by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), were signed into law in 2016. Farm, forest, nursery, and greenhouse operations must comply with most of these revisions beginning January 2, 2017.
Learn more about this serious new disease killing Floratam St. Augustinegrass lawns.
Palm Pruning Caution
10% bleach solution (1 part bleach : 9 parts water)
Grocery and hardware stores and home-improvement centers
Immediately effective (no soaking)
Wipe or dip tool in 70 - 100% alcohol
Grocery stores and pharmacies
If you have a palm exhibiting problems call the Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Master Gardener hotline at 233-1750 M-F 9-4, or stop by the office 531 North Military Trail West Palm Beach with your palm frond sample.
You may have noticed large numbers of millipedes seemingly invading homes and businesses this year. During this particular time of year the Palm Beach County Extension office receives many complaints about millipedes. Download the fact sheet to learn more about millipedes.
The Cattle Identification Rule (Chapter 5C-31, Florida Administrative Code) has been published with an effective date of September 4, 2014. This rule is intended to improve our ability to respond to serious disease outbreaks and to help the industry maintain out-of-state markets.
Click here for more information.
Tips to Reduce and Repel Mosquitos
Cleaning Up Your Cold Damaged Plants
Attracting our Feathered Friends
Bee Cautious, Be Proactive
Cloning Your Fruit Trees
Florida Friendly Irrigation Tips
Grow Your Own Backyard Veggies
Healthy Palm Pointers from the University of Florida
Herb Gardening in Southern Florida
Holiday Plant Care
Hurricanes Have Taught Us a Lesson
Gardening to Attract Hummingbirds
Non-Aggressive Rooted Trees
Patio Fruit Trees
Pineapple Growing in the Home Landscape
Selecting the Perfect Holiday Tree
Shade Your House, Save Money
Scary Spiders in Mounts Botanical Garden
Spring Flowering Vines
Spring Tree Maintenance
Summer Lovin’ Flowers
Tomatoes in the Florida Garden
Trees With Benefits- Selecting a Small Tree for the Home Landscape
Tropical Flowering Bulbs for South Florida
Tropical Vegetables for the South Florida Garden
Why is it so important to plant native species?
Cactus and Succulent Container Gardens