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Viburnum Whitefly

Aleurotuba jelinekii

Viburnum Whitefly

Viburnum Whitefly is a small, common white-winged insect. It belongs to the order containing true bugs however appears more like a micro moth or fly. Whitefly is an important agricultural pest species that has been a common problem for many crops and ornamental plants over the last decade. They are sap-suckers, sucking up plant tissue through two adapted filament stylets. They excrete copious amounts of honeydew, a byproduct of whitefly feeding, which attracts mould to the infected area, which may cause a secondary infection.
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Plants which are heavily infested can develop black sooty mould.
Eaten by various beneficial insects.


Adults: Tiny, growing only 1.5 mm, with four white wings. They are pearly white in colour and often fly up 'in clouds' when disturbed on the host plant. Nymphs: The nymphs are oval and flattened, translucent with a green tinge. A powdery white wax is normally evident when a nymph has settled to feed. Later nymphal stages appear more like scale insects, black, immobile and latch to the plant. The final nymphal stage takes the form of a flattened disk, with a fine waxy fringe spanning the body. Eggs: Whitefly eggs are tiny, located under the leaves of plants.


White 'flies' or 'moths' on undersides of Viburnum plants. Tiny whitefly eggs can be found under leaves. They can secrete clear stick honeydew on plants. Grey sooty moulds on Viburnum leaves. Leaf yellowing and early leaf drop.












Biological treatment

Whitefly infestations tend to be more problematic indoors, for example, in a glasshouse setting. Planting rhubarb in greenhouses is thought to deter whitefly. Whitefly eggs can be found underneath the leaves of plants, so these areas should be inspected regularly. Remove Whitefly eggs with a cloth and soapy water or rubbing alcohol. Any spacing between plants should be kept clear of weeds and debris. The use of netting can sometimes improve protection for garden plants. For lighter infestations, plants can be gently hosed down to remove whitefly and eggs. Ant traps placed near affected plants will aid controlling any secondary infestations. Whiteflies are drawn to the colour yellow. You can use yellow cards or sticky traps to attract whitefly and monitor the infestation level. Insecticidal soaps and neem oil can give some control over whitefly, and it's less harmful to the environment when compared with pesticides. Bottle labels should be read carefully. Oils can react badly with high temperatures and burn the surfaces of plants. Beneficial garden creatures such as beetles, wasps, lacewings and spiders will eat whiteflies. These can be attracted into the garden using a few simple tricks, such as incorporating insect hotels or by letting parts of the garden grow a little wild.

Chemical treatment

There are pesticides available for home gardeners. Please note* whiteflies are capable of developing tolerances to the toxins found in sprays. Systemic insecticides can sometimes eliminate whitefly, be sure to get good coverage beneath the leaves (where the younger whitefly hide). Please read bottle instructions carefully, taking care not to spray any plants that are in flower. Pesticides can be extremely toxic to wildlife, so should be applied with extreme caution.


A close up of a Viburnum flower


Viburnum spp.

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