One more new pest now attacking our forests and gardens: the acacia whitefly

  • Photo courtesy of Voltaire Moise The rare Australian flame tree, Brachychiton acerifolius, is a medium size tree in the hibiscus family. A beautiful specimen may be seen at the Old Kona Airport community garden. It is easily grown and does well in dryer parts of the island like Kona.

It seems just when we think we have dealt with one epidemic another pops up. The avocado lacebug caused widespread defoliation of avocado trees in 2021, and now we have a new pest attacking our native koa, wili wili and uhiuhi. The acacia whitefly (Tetraleuodes acacaciae) has become widespread on Oahu and will soon be found on the Island of Hawaii if it is not already here. Not only does it attack our native acacia koa, other hosts include the shower tree (Cassia species) and related legume trees like the bauhinias are vulnerable as well. Acacia whitefly infestations may cause leaf yellowing, wilting and even defoliation.