Description and Biology
The mulberry whitefly, Tetraleurodes mori, is a minor pest of shrubs and trees in North Carolina. It is one of 1,100 species of whiteflies that infest plants across the world. Females insert just the tip of their eggs a short distance into the lower surfaces of leaves. About two weeks later, from the eggs hatch tiny yellow nymphs called crawlers that move about before settling down to insert their mouthparts to feed. Once they settle down, they remain in the same spot until the new adult mulberry whiteflies emerge a month or more later. With each molt, nymphs become larger, darker, and eventually are shiny black with a conspicuous white fringe. This last stage is called the pupa. Adult mulberry whiteflies are pale gray with conspicuous darker gray spots, jagged lines, and markings on the forewings. Whiteflies suck sap from leaves and excrete honeydew (a sweet, sticky liquid in which sooty molds often grow).
Mulberry whiteflies have been reported from American holly, avocado, boxelder, citrus, flowering dogwood, mountain laurel, mulberry, Norway maple, red maple,Virginia sweet spire, and wax myrtle.
The mulberry whitefly is not particularly resistant to pesticides. Insecticidal soaps work well on adult whiteflies. Horticultural oils should give some control of the nymphs. These pesticides should available at local gardening supply houses. Whiteflies are plagued with predators, parasites, and diseases. Since the mulberry whitefly is usually more of a curiosity than a pest, it is probably not necessary to treat infested plant unless the whiteflies become tremendously abundant.
- Sooty molds. Frank, S. et al. 2019 (revised). Entomology Insect Notes, NC State Extension Publications.
- Whiteflies. Day, E. R et al. 2020. Virginia Cooperative Extension. 444-280 (ENTO-378NP).
- Whiteflies. Flint, M. L. 2016 (revised). Pests in Gardens and Landscapes, How to Manage Pests, UC IPM, Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program.
- Extension Plant Pathology Publications and Factsheets
- Horticultural Science Publications
- North Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual
For assistance with a specific problem, contact your local Cooperative Extension Center.
This Factsheet has not been peer reviewed.
Publication date: March 10, 2017
Revised: Dec. 21, 2021
Recommendations for the use of agricultural chemicals are included in this publication as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services in this publication does not imply endorsement by NC State University or N.C. A&T State University nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned. Individuals who use agricultural chemicals are responsible for ensuring that the intended use complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Be sure to obtain current information about usage regulations and examine a current product label before applying any chemical. For assistance, contact your local N.C. Cooperative Extension county center.
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