LEE COUNTY, Fla.- An insect invasion across Southwest Florida isn't just damaging your plants...it's also wreaking havoc on cars, boats and patios! It's called whitefly and it's leaving it's mark in the form of a sticky, syrup-like residue on cars in the area.
The rugose spiraling whiteflies' eggs hatch and drop a sticky goo on whatever is below it. And now there's another type of whitefly that's also spread to Southwest Florida.
This new, invasive species of whitefly has been turning up all over the region, including Lee and Collier Counties. The bondar's nesting whitefly was discovered recently on ficus plants in South Fort Myers. It turns ficus leaves sticky and stains them. The pest is identifiable by the appearance of a white, waxy spots on leaves. The pest alone won't kill a plant, but it could leave the plant vulnerable to other dangers. Growers are taking extra care to protect their plants, and homeowners can do the same.
"As a homeowners, you can try and spray it with sprays like neem oil. The problem is you have to spray everything and you need to repeat it probably several times," said Mayer Berg of Riverland Nursery.
If you spot the pest in your plants, certain insecticides can be used, but experts say it will take constant, vigorous spraying and that is often an issue for homeowners. If you spot the residue from the whitefly on your cars, all you can do is spray it down and scrub it with soap. Unfortunately it will likely come back and there are no preventative measures.