Answer: Nearly any plant in the garden can become infested with whiteflies. The giant whitefly, Aleurodicus dugesii, is native to Mexico. It was first discovered in San Diego County in October 1992 and is now found in southern California and elsewhere, including Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Texas. Since its introduction into southern California, giant whitefly has spread rapidly northward along the coast.
Giant whitefly can severely infest many ornamental plant species found in home gardens. The plant species most affected by the giant whitefly include begonia, hibiscus, giant bird of paradise, orchid tree, banana, mulberry, Xylosma, aralia, and various vegetables. Certain varieties of citrus and avocado are also affected. As the giant whitefly adapts to vegetation in new areas, the list of known host plants is likely to grow.
Manage giant whiteflies in your landscape with an integrated program that includes removal of infested leaves and, if necessary, washing whiteflies off leaves with water. Biological control agents are presently being introduced and have become established in parts of southern California. Insecticides are not generally recommended because they destroy the biological control agents. A forceful stream of water directed at colonies can be just as effective as insecticide sprays.
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