Rugose Spiraling Whitefly

Rugose Spiraling Whitefly (RSW) produces “honeydew,” a sugary substance that can stick to your house, car, or patio and make a real sticky mess.

Leaves or fronds may have excessive and unattractive dark sooty mold that grows on the honeydew. Leaf drop may occur in some species of trees and plants.

Rugose Spiraling Whitefly was first identified in Florida in 2009, and has since spread throughout Florida. Endemic to Central America, this Whitefly is an escalating issue for homeowners, municipalities and business owners. The feeding of the insect can cause stress and dieback of plants, and the honeydew they produces creates a perfect environment for sooty black mold, which spreads to cover whatever is nearby.

Much larger than the normal native Whitefly, the Rugose Spiraling Whitefly lays eggs in a spiraling pattern, covered with a waxy material. Females will lay eggs on non-plant surfaces like cars, windows and walls. Even after the insects have been eliminated, the waxy coating will take some time to break down.



  • Common Symptoms
    • An infestation of Rugose Spiraling Whitefly is generally easy to spot due to the sticky “honeydew” the insect produces. Black sooty mold may also grow on the honeydew, drawing further attention. The most obvious sign of an infestation is seeing the flies themselves as well as the white spiraling patterns they make on the bottoms of leaves, which may look like dust.

    • We recommend treatment with IMA-jet, considered the industry leader in Whitefly control. For food-bearing trees including coconut palms, we recommend AzaSol, a botanical broad-spectrum product derived from neem.

    When To Treat
    • Generally, the best seasons for injection are fall and spring, as uptake occurs when trees are transpiring. Hot weather or dry soil conditions will result in a reduced rate of uptake, so trees should be watered if applications occur when soil is extremely dry. Extra caution must be taken when treating trees in hot conditions, as doing so may result in an adverse reaction for the tree. Tree health will also affect treatment efficacy, so assess tree health prior to treating.

    What To Expect After Treatment
    • Trunk injections of IMA-jet for Rugose Spiraling Whitefly should act quickly to knock down the current infestation. We recommend spraying the undersides of leaves with a steady stream of water to remove the spirals and any remaining insects.