Pests Love Paradise, Too...
Residents enjoy a warm, plush, sub-tropical environment here in Palmetto Bay -- but not nearly as much as the pests that thrive among us! Being located between Biscayne Bay to the east and the Everglades to the west, Palmetto Bay is forced to co-exist with bugs and plants that we may not always find particularly welcome.
Simply stated, "pests" are plants or animals found in places where you don't want them. They may merely be annoying, carriers of diseases, or even damage property. Below, we address some of today's most common pests: mosquitos and whiteflies. But because most people's first response is to grab the nearest can of bug-killer when they spot or suspect a pest is around, we also provide general information on environmentally smart pest control techniques.
Miami-Dade County is home to 45 species of mosquitoes. However, a few create sufficient annoyance that require professionally managed control measures. In addition to their annoyance, mosquitoes can also transmit diseases such as West Nile Virus, Dengue Fever, Encephalitis, Malaria, and dog heartworm. With the threat of such diseases, it is important to reduce your chances of getting bitten by following these helpful tips to avoiding mosquitoes. But when the mosquito problem gets really bad, particularly during the hot wet summer months, we rely on the expertise of Miami-Dade County's Mosquito Control Division to manage the mosquito population on behalf of Palmetto Bay by using the most effective methods, techniques, equipment, and insecticides. Residents experiencing a mosquito nuisance are encouraged to:
- Call 3-1-1
- Report the problem via the County website, and select "Report mosquitoes causing a biting nuisance" from the drop-down menu.
Resident complaints are serviced either by truck spraying, aerial spraying or by site inspections, depending upon the location and the season of the year. Be sure to check the News & Events section of the County website for announcements re scheduled spraying missions in our area.
Over the past few years, a voracious new pest has been attacking ficus trees and hedges throughout Palmetto Bay and across Miami. This pest has been identified as the fig whitefly, Singhiella simplex, which typically feeds on the underside of leaves with their “needle-like” mouth parts. Whiteflies can seriously injure host plants by sucking juices from them causing wilting, yellowing, stunting, leaf drop, or even death of the plant.
If you have fichus trees and hedges on your property, please review this helpful information provided by the UF/IFAS Miami-Dade County Extension (a partnership of the Miami-Dade Consumer Services Department and the University of Florida's Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences):
Experts urge people not to panic over the gumbo limbo spiraling whitefly because this whitefly is different than the ficus whitefly that devastated so much of the County's ficus hedges and ficus trees during the past several years.
The new whitefly does not cause the massive defoliation seen with the ficus whitefly, but plants with heavy infestations may suffer some damage and leaf drop. The telltale symptoms of a gumbo limbo spiraling whitefly infestation are eggs in a spiral pattern on the undersides of leaves and accumulation of a white, waxy substance that coats the eggs and young crawlers. Also, there is sticky honeydew and sooty mold that grows on it that can accumulate on plants, cars, pool decks, and patio furniture from infested trees overhead. Please review these documents to learn more:
- Common Questions - Gumbo Limbo Spiraling Whitefly
- Fact Sheet - Gumbo Limbo Spiraling Whitefly
- Homeowners Guide - New Whitefly in South Florida
The Miami-Dade County Extension Service offers this video showing how to identify Gumbo Limbo Spiraling Whitefly and control methods.