Rugose white fly wreaks havoc on southern Palm Beach County trees

Insects are tiny, docile, yet deadly for trees

BOCA RATON, Fla. -  An arsenal is being unleashed to combat the Rugose White Fly in southern Palm Beach County. The small, docile insect slowly feeds on the nutrients of trees and plants, eventually killing them.

Peggy Gossett-Seidman didn't know the insect invaded her yard until... "The pool turned green and we didn't know what the problem was," says Peggy.

The invasive fly first came to Florida from Central America and is slowly making its way north. Pest control experts say the flies started to spread fast over the past year and they are devouring greens as far north as Ocean Ridge.

"The reproduction rate has doubled in the summertime, we've noticed the white fly is overbearing on trees," says Kris Wilson, who works for O'Hara Pest Control.

"The white fly jumps from house to house, we've had to keep up with it as a neighborhood actually," Peggy says.

The fly secrets a sticky substance called honey dew. Everything it falls on turns black.

"We've spent a lot of money trying to get rid of the white fly, because of all the pool chemicals to treat it and the trees," Peggy.

Peggy estimates it's been a $2,000 headache so far. She worries it will only get worse as the fly spreads.

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