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Whitefly (Various spp.)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Whitefly.




Tiny flies with white wings, adult Whiteflies look nothing like their younger selves.



 Updated: 6/17/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org




Whiteflies are very small bugs that are not actually in the Fly family. They are considered true bugs, and their life cycle is unique. After hatching, a nymph that is barely visible walks along a leaf until it finds a suitable place to spend the next few weeks. It settles down, loses its legs and continues to molt. In this stationary form, it looks more like scale: round, eyeless, and immobile. During this stage, it feeds on the plant’s juices until it pupates into a winged adult. The Whitefly is a rapid reproducer, so large numbers of them can injure plant vigor and health. It secretes a sticky, sweet substance called honeydew that can become black with mildew over time, ruining the appearance of ornamental plants. It can also transmit plant viruses, so it is considered a pest to commercial growers as well as home gardeners. They are so small, that a hand lens may be needed to clearly see what it is when examining leaves.

One species is found in hothouses and are called Greenhouse Whiteflies. Another species, the Silverleaf Whitefly, molts out of its exoskeleton, leaving behind a silvery shell of its former self. All Whiteflies are unable to survive cold temperatures. Sticky cards are often hung in greenhouses to attract and capture adult Whiteflies, preventing them from harming plants. Certain small wasps and beetles are natural controls. Finding a Whitefly on a plant should inspire a thorough inspection of leaves.


General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hemiptera
        Family: Aleyrodidae [ View More ]
          Genus: Various [ View More ]
            Species: spp.
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Descriptors
Scientific Name: Various spp.
Other Name(s): Greenhouse Whitefly
Category: True Bug
Size (Adult; Length): 1mm to 3mm (0.04in to 0.12in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: white; green; yellow; gray
Descriptors: small; white wings; black bands on wings; dirty wings; green body; white body; all white; yellow body; red eyes; flying
Relative Size Comparison
Lo: 1mm | Hi: 3mm
Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns.
Territorial Map
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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State of New Mexico graphic
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State of North Carolina graphic
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State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
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State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
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State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic