Acacia Whitefly (Tetraleurodes acaciae)

Acacia Whitefly (Tetraleurodes acaciae)

By Carol Kwan

There’s a new pest in town – acacia whitefly (Tetraleurodes acaciae). It was first found in Waikiki with subsequent sightings throughout Honolulu. It appears to be widespread across Oahu.
Acacia whitefly infestations may cause leaf yellowing, wilting, and decreased plant vigor. Heavy infestations may cause defoliation. Whitefly feeding may also produce copious amounts of honeydew that may lead to sooty mold.
The acacia whitefly nymphs and pupae are shiny black with a fringe of white wax. They range in size from 0.1 mm to 0.7 mm, so they’re tiny. Magnification is recommended for confirming identification.
This pest prefers hosts within the Fabaceae family (legumes). So far in Hawaii, it has been found on shower trees (Cassia sp.) and Erythrina species.  Potential hosts include some of our native species, particularly koa (Acacia koa), wiliwili (Erythrina sandwicensis), and uhiuhi (Mezoneuron kavaiensis). Other common landscape plants that are potential hosts are Bauhinia, Bougainvillea, Melaleuca, Jatropha, Chamaedorea, and Pseudobombax.
     A parasitoid wasp and several ladybeetle predators have been found attacking acacia whitefly, but in low numbers so far.
If you discover acacia whitefly on a Neighbor Island, please notify (808) 643-PEST or 643pest.org. For those on Oahu, if you find it on host species other than shower trees or Erythrina species, please report that as well through the website. It helps greatly if you submit several clear photos with your report along with the host plant species and location for further investigation.

For more information, please refer to the State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s New Pest Advisory at hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/files/2021/12/NPA-21-02-Tetraleurodes-acaciae.pdf.

 

Carol Kwan is the President of Carol Kwan Consulting, a Certified Arborist, and Treasurer of Aloha Arborist Association.
Mahalo to Janis Matsunaga, Hawaii Department of Agriculture Plant Pest Control Branch, for reviewing this article.

 

 

 

                                                                                                      Acacia Whitefly on a Rainbow Shower Tree

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