Photo courtesy UF/IFAS
The Q-biotype whitefly has spread from Palm Beach County to seven others, according to the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
The pest has been found as far north as Duval County, though most of the Q-biotype whiteflies have been reported farther south — in Broward, Highlands, Hillsborough, Martin, Pinellas, and Seminole counties, according to UF Professor Lance Osborne.
The “Q-bio” species is also known as the Mediterranean whitefly. Osborne said, in a July 11 news release issued by UF/IFAS, that this is the first time the Q-biotype whitefly has been found outside a nursery or greenhouse in the U.S.
The invasive pest can damage a variety of vegetables, including beans, squash, tomatoes, and watermelons; and ornamental plants, according to the release.
Inspectors for the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services are tracking the whiteflies to the wholesale nurseries where they originated. Homeowners and others who suspect they have a Q-biotype whitefly infestation should contact their nearest UF/IFAS Extension office, the news release said.
For a list of UF/IFAS Extension offices, visit http://bit.ly./1Q8wguw.