Whiteflies invade Treasure Coast, damaging swimming pools

VERO BEACH, FLA. -- As the summer heats up, your swimming pool is looking more inviting than ever. But before you jump in, you might want to check twice for whiteflies, now invading the Treasure Coast.

Chris Lafalce, owner of Ameripool in Vero Beach, says he's had more customers than ever complaining about green pools. But it's not a treatment problem.

He says more pool owners than ever will struggle with whiteflies this summer. He had to help nearly 40 customers last week alone with whitefly complaints.

He believes they're moving up from the Palm Beach County area, where they are more common.

The flies thrive on coconut trees, hibiscus, and birds of paradise. He says they drip a honey-dew secretion into a pool, leaving a mucous film on the water, and causing black moldy spots on pool decks.

"They deplete the chlorine and raise the phosphates, making it unsafe to swim," Lafalce explained.

He says customers notice all the chlorine in their pools is gone. Lafolce has to retreat pools, and at times completely drain them. Treatments can cost upwards of $400.

"It's very hard to fix because they have to kill the whiteflies first," Lafolce said. He says he expects the flies to get worse as the summer progresses.

He also adds if you live closer to the coast, you're more likely to have the whiteflies. Outdoor pools are most at risk, but he says screened in pools aren't always in the clear.

He says even if you don't have whiteflies, but have the trees near your pool, you should have your local pest control check the foliage.

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