Citrus whitefly

Page last updated: Tuesday, 21 January 2014 - 8:57am

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Citrus ‘whiteflies’ or ‘snow flies’ (Aleyrodidae) resemble small, white moths, but actually belong to a group (Hemiptera) closely related to lerp insects, aphids and scales. Two species of whitefly have been recorded on Australian citrus, Australian citrus whitefly, Orchamoplatus citrus (Takahashi) and Aleurocanthus whitefly. Only O. citrus occurs in Western Australia.


  • Whiteflies have a piercing-sucking mouthpart that they insert into the plant tissue to feed on leaves. Leaves may wilt and drop as a result of feeding damage if populations are high.
  • Large quantities of a sweet sugary material known as honeydew are also secreted by the whiteflies. Leaves and fruit often turn black with the growth of sooty mould fungus on the honey dew.
  • Lemon trees are the favourite host, but all types of citrus are vulnerable to attack.
  • Whiteflies are not usually a problem of citrus in Australia.


Sonya Broughton