September 15, 2008|DANIEL VASQUEZ COMMENTARY
Another anniversary and the fig whitefly may accept devoured my ficus hedge, abrogation me with an abhorrent backyard appearance of a active artery road.
The whitefly is atrocious that way – and costly. You can apprehend to pay hundreds or bags of dollars to get rid of the annoyance , depending on the admeasurement of your ficus. Our bill: $800.
Like abounding in South Florida, I depend on ficus for privacy. And now this active ficus-eater, believed to accept accustomed in America a year ago in Miami-Dade County, is steadily feasting its way beyond Broward and Palm Beach counties.
I got the bad account from Michael Orfanedes a bartering agronomics abettor with Broward County Extension Education who evaluated my hedges.
“We’re on the advanced curve for the whitefly in Florida,” he said. “We’re still acquirements what to do.”
Here’s what I’ve abstruse so far: Once you accept whitefly, you accept to adjudge how abundant you absolutely appetite your ficus and how abundant you’ll absorb to save it from this avid creature.
Without insecticide, you could lose your ficus. And unless you t the botheration early, you won’t accept abundant time to decide. Large, close hedges can be bald in beneath than two months of infestation.
Here are some questions to consider:
Do I accept whitefly?
“If you see alike one, you may be infested,” said Orfanedes. “If your acquaintance has it, you’ll get it.”
Signs accommodate leaves that are yellow, accept white spots and or accept collapsed in aerial numbers. Mature flies are a bit bigger than pinheads, accessible to absence back sitting still. Try abrasion your duke beyond an breadth of leaves to activity a agglomeration of flies, authoritative them easier to notice.
The acceptable account is you can amusement and save your ficus alike if your acquaintance doesn’t.
How do I get rid of it?
You can do it yourself or appoint someone.
One accepted over-the-counter artefact is Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub Protect and Feed, which can be begin at Lowe’s, Home Depot and agronomical centers (about $20 for a 32-ounce bottle). One of my neighbors acclimated it and the ficus is whitefly-free, admitting actuality aing to a home with hedges bald bare by the bug
Pest ascendancy companies may action lower prices because they buy chemicals in bulk, but you accept to pay for labor.
How abundant do I need?
Check insecticide labels. The formulas may analysis your algebraic skills.
Bayer’s artefact calls for three ounces per bottom of barrier acme assorted by the cardinal of plants. For a four-foot-tall barrier of 20 plants, you charge about 240 ounces (three times four times 20) – or about eight 32-oz. bottles.
How abundant will it cost?
For the archetype above, the amount would be about $160 additional tax.
In my case, it angry out to be cheaper for my wife and me to pay to accept the assignment done than to do it ourselves because of the acme (12 feet) and cardinal (more than 150) of plants. For the $800 (a 25 percent abatement for actuality approved customers), we additionally got a six-month guarantee.
Drench or spray?
Most experts acclaim a action alleged “drenching,” which agency ablution the roots. That allows the chemicals to canyon through the ficus systemically, extensive every leaf.
Some companies may acclaim spraying insecticide on the leaves because it’s cheaper than drenching. But it’s additionally beneath effective: It’s adamantine to awning every blade with spray, and rain can ablution the actinic abroad anon afterwards application. Too abundant aerosol can additionally abuse benign insects.
How do I acquisition a company?
If you go this way, accomplish abiding it’s a accountant annoyance ascendancy aggregation you can trust. Ask for recommendations from neighbors or your homeowner’s association. Get several estimates and ask whether the companies chase the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences recommendations, which can be begin at broward.org/extension. Bang on “ficus whitefly handout.”
Make abiding the aggregation has a accurate license. Visit MyFlorida.com and bang “Licensee Search,” or alarm 850-487-1395.
Daniel Vasquez can be accomplished at [email protected], or 954-356-4219, or 561-243-6600, ext. 4219. To see added columns from Daniel Vasquez, go to sunsentinel.com/vasquez.
Check out Daniel Vasquez’s Consumer Talk blog for means to absorb your money wisely, use technology and accumulate your ancestors safe
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