Ways To control Whiteflies and Croton Scale on Gumbo Limbo
Gumbo limbo trees have generally been pest free except for an incurable disease Ganoderma but here are 3 Ways To control Whiteflies and Croton Scale on Gumbo Limbo.
Since the introduction of two exotic pest to South Florida Rugose Spiraling Whitefly and Croton Scale that together attack over 100 host plants and have made this a maintenance nightmare for home and business owners, municipalities, home owners associations.
We have been treating Gumbo Limbo trees for Rugose Spiraling Whitefly since they first appeared in Doral Florida all these types of properties since they first appeared taking from the experience of treating small plants like Duranta Whitefly and the prolific Ficus Whitefly our vast experience in this field allowed us to quickly move to protect our customer’s trees.
The learning curve on the appropriate treatment on Gumbo Limbo was great and exhaustive because gumbo limbo doe not behave the same way with treatment as other trees like live oak or palms where treatments can last up to one year.
Gumbo Limbo does not retain the product in its vascular system through leaves and branches for more than 3 month, so repeat treatment is requirede to prevent pest infestation secondly Gumbo Limbo is semi deciduous so leaf drop is a factor in how long the active ingredient imidacloprid stays in it’s system.
In an effort to be more eco friendly many have used trunk injections with the same active ingredient Imidacloprid but because of how the tree behaves which is still a mystery to entomologists, repeated trunk injections must also be applied two to three times per year the problem is the holes and plugs used in trunk injections will clog up with sap and are not reusable requiring re-drilling of several holes in the tree wounding the tree and leaving behind the plugs making more susceptible to the spores of Ganoderma to enter the tree and killing it.
Trunk injections should be used as a last resort if it is the only way to save a tree or if the tree is near a body of water where contamination is possible.
Natural insecticide sprays made from esential oils like mint and tyme are effective in controlling gumbo limbo whitefly and croton scale but a monthly or quarterly spray is ineffective because they cannot break the pest life cycle which is very short around 30 days, so repeat applications every five to seven days are required with natural products like EcoVia and Essentria.
Sprays with Neonicotinoids such as Imidacloprid are not recommended because the systemic action can be limited to the leaf only and depending on the Neonicotinoid in most cases it will act just as contact insecticide such a a pyrethroid like the active ingredient Bifenthrin and both may only last up to about 30 days making repeat applications necessary in some cases 7 to 14 days in order to break the life cycle.
Systemic root drench treatments with a systemic insecticide like imidacloprid is still the best way to control scale, whiteflies, aphids and thrips pierce and suck on shrubs, trees and palms.
We recommend you uses them according to label directions at the lowest label rate provided in order to reduce the impact on the environment and reduce soil pollution and the reduce the risk of ground water contamination.