University of Florida researches said the Rugose Spiraling Whitefly is the worst pest they’ve ever seen and now it’s moving from the Space Coast toward Orlando.
They are tiny, white bugs that leave behind a big mess.
They were first spotted on the Space Coast last year, but now they’re moving inland, according to UF researchers.
“They moved up from the Keys and can now be found in Orlando. It is called the Rugose Spiraling Whitefly. I’ve never seen anything this bad. I mean, it’s the worst pest I’ve ever seen,” said Dr. Lance Osborne with the University of Florida.
Patti Martin owns the Flip Flop Pool company in Cocoa Beach.
She said the pests are getting into pools and neutralizing the chlorine, turning the pool green.
“No matter how much you shock them, or how much chlorine you put in, it does not solve the problem,” Martin said.
The bugs also suck the nutrients out of plants, leaving behind a white sticky mess that can eventually turn into black fungus.
“All over your roof, all over your car, everywhere that it drops, places in Palm Beach when you walk down the street you’ll stick to the ground,” Osborne said. “We’ve never seen a bug spread as rapidly as this one.”
Researchers said in recent years the number of invasive new bugs in the state has doubled. Every year they now find about 24 new bugs.
“As trade increases and all these trade agreements increased, the number of invasive species detected in the state of Florida has grown exponentially,” Osborne said.
UF researchers are studying the new bugs and trying to find ways to keep them under control and out of your backyar
via Rugose Spiraling Whitefly causing problems with pools, plants