NC State Extension Publications

Description and Biology

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The bandedwinged whitefly, Trialeurodes abutiloneus, was first described from velvetleaf (Abutilon theophrasti) from which it got its specific epithet. It resembles the closely related greenhouse whitefly, but the wings have two distinct, gray, zigzag lines across them. This native whitefly can overwinter successfully outdoors. Females insert the tips of smooth, oblong eggs into the lower leaf surface. Sometimes the pale yellow to pink eggs are arranged in a circle. From the eggs hatch tiny, yellow crawlers that crawl about until they insert their long, needle-like mouthparts in the lower surface of their host leaf. They feed by sucking out sap, and they excrete honeydew, a clear, sweet, viscous liquid. Nymphs are translucent white with a yellow spot on each side. They grow into almost 1/16 inch long, oval pupae with vertical sides and a fringe of wax filaments along the upper edge. Pupae have a dark area in the upper surface (lacking on the pupae of greenhouse whiteflies). We have several generations per year in North Carolina.

Banded-winged whiteflies

Banded-winged whiteflies have zigzag gray lines on the wings.

Immature banded-winged whiteflies

Immature banded-winged whiteflies have a fringe of waxy filaments around the top edge.

Host Plants

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The bandedwinged whitefly is considered to be polyphagous (it feeds on just about any plant). It has been reported from beggarticks, cotton, geranium, hibiscus, mallows, petunia, poinsettia, ragweed, and velvetleaf. Heavily infested plants become unthrifty and yellowish. Honeydew excreted by bandedwinged whitefly nymphs and the sooty molds that grow in it further detract from the appearance of infested plants.

Banded-winged whiteflies may become quite abundant in late summe

Banded-winged whiteflies may become quite abundant in late summer.

Yellow sticky cards

Yellow sticky cards can be used to monitor banded-winged whitefly populations as well as other pests.

Residential Recommendations

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Years ago this was a serious pest of ornamental plants, but when synthetic organochlorine, organophosphate and carbamate insecticides were introduced in the 1940's, the bandedwinged whitefly seemed to drop out of the picture. Now it is an occasional pest moving from weeds into landscapes and greenhouses. Insecticidal soaps and the horticultural oils should give moderately effective control of the bandedwinged whitefly. Other insecticides available in garden centers and big box stores should also give adequate control of bandedwinged whiteflies as long as the pesticides are labeled for whitefly management.


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For assistance with a specific problem, contact your local Cooperative Extension Center

This Factsheet has not been peer reviewed.


Professor Emeritus
Entomology and Plant Pathology

Publication date: Aug. 31, 2017
Revised: June 10, 2022

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