The Q&A Archives: Hibiscus: degree of current whitefly resistance or susceptability in San Diego

Question: It seems whitefly aren't infesting Hibiscus as much as they did during the 1990's here in San Diego. But I'm wondering what your perspective is, and, have any of your varieties shown more resistance than other varieties?

Answer: Hibiscus is a favorite of giant whiteflies, but with all insect pests, the populations seem to ebb and flow. There are several natural predators of whiteflies and once the population rises to a certain degree, the predators arrive to keep the population in check. University of California Entomologists have learned that adult GWF rarely move from the plants or leaves from which they were born. Adults have exceedingly long stylets which remain in the plant tissue when GWF is forced or blown from their leaves. Thus adults will often cluster in large colonies on a plant. These aggregations can usually be removed by selective pruning. Clusters of infested foliage can be bagged and removed for disposal. Do not leave infested prunings exposed since the whiteflies will then have the opportunity to disperse to other plants. A strong jet of water applied to the remaining areas of infestation will further aid in knocking down populations of GWF. Forceful spraying must be aimed at the underside of the leaves where larvae of GWF are present.

Best wishes with your landscape.

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