University of Arizona

New Pest in Community Environments - Ficus Whitefly



Ficus (Fig) Whitefly (Singhiella simplex)

A new pest arrival to the Phoenix area is causing damage and defoliation in Ficus trees. The Ficus or Fig Whitefly is an exotic, invasive pest insect that first arrived in the U.S. in FL in 2007. We need your help in identifying the distribution of this new pest in AZ by participating in an anonymous "sightings" survey available online here:


Your information could help us understand the geographic and host range of this new whitefly and develop steps to prevent further damage. The Arizona Pest Management Center has developed concise factsheets providing information on this pest. Read/download the factsheets here:

Identification and Biology of the Ficus Whitefly
Integrated Pest Management of the Ficus Whitefly
Plant Health Care for Ficus plants following Ficus Whitefly Damage

Excellent, science-based guidance on the effective management of this insect is also available from University of FL Extension. (PDF available at the following link):


The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension is working in partnership with your industry to collect this information and develop AZ-specific guidelines for addressing the problem. The decision to intervene with a pesticide should be carefully considered. FL recommends just one, very well timed soil application of a neonicotinoid insecticide like dinotefuran or imidacloprid for year-long management of this pest. Mixtures with other insecticides and foliar sprays are generally not necessary and counterproductive because of their negative impacts on beneficials and pest resistance.

For more information, please contact:

Rebecca Senior, Assistant in Extension, Ornamental Horticulture
rsenior@cals.arizona.edu, 602-827-8276

Shaku Nair, Assistant in Extension, Community IPM
nairs@email.arizona.edu, 520-374-6299

Kai Umeda, Area Extension Agent, Turfgrass Science
kumeda@cals.arizona.edu, 602-827-8214

Peter Ellsworth, UA IPM Specialist & Director, Arizona Pest Management Center (APMC)

Al Fournier, IPM Program Manager & Associate Director, APMC


More resources
Ficus Whitefly (April, 2015) (3.63MB) PPT
Ficus Whitefly (Feb, 2010) Fact Sheet (PDF, 1.3MB)


Meeting Notes

April 14, 2015 (PDF, 348 KB)


This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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