A tiny, invasive whitefly that is resistant to pesticides and carries crop-devastating viruses has been found outdoors in the United States for the first time, raising concerns among fruit and vegetable growers.

The Q-biotype whitefly turned up in April in the heavily manicured gardens of an affluent neighborhood in south Florida’s Palm Beach County, where landscapers were spraying the flowers and shrubs regularly with insecticides.

Its discovery outdoors comes more than a decade after it was first found in a US retail nursery in Arizona.

Since 2005, the whitefly has also been found in about two dozen US states, but only in greenhouses.

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