Whiteflies are a common pest that typically affects houseplants and plants in greenhouses. Adult whiteflies have a yellow body and proportionally large, heart-shaped white wings. Whitefly nymphs are oval shaped and have no wings. Both adults and nymphs can be found in large groups on the underside of plant leaves; when disturbed, they have a tendency to fly out en masse. Whiteflies are prolific breeders and feed on host plants throughout their lifecycle, making effective whitefly control a necessity.
How Do Whiteflies Damage Plants?
Whiteflies damage plants by feeding on their sap. This weakens the plant, making it more susceptible to disease. Common signs of a whitefly infestation — other than the obvious presence of the insects — include wilted, yellow or mottled leaves, drooping flower buds, slow or stunted growth, and reduced fruit yield. Like aphids, whiteflies also secret honeydew, which can attract mold that prevents the plant from photosynthesizing. Whiteflies are carriers of several types of plant viruses, including gemenivirus, which is easily spread from plant to plant and often requires drastic control measures.
Whitefly Control with Neem Oil
Neem oil is a popular form of organic whitefly control. Oil from the neem tree is used to coat the infected plant, causing the whitefly to suffocate. One drawback to neem oil for whitefly control is the danger of phototoxicity, which can occur when a plant is overexposed to oils of any kinds. The risk of phototoxicty is compounded by the use of sulfur-based fungicides, so be sure not to use both products within 5-7 days of one another.
Safer® Brand offers a number of products that use neem oil for organic whitefly control, including Garden Defense which is a clarified extract of neem oil, and reduces risks of phototoxicity.
Whitefly Control with Insecticidal Soap
Safer® Brand offers a number of different organic insecticidal soaps for whitefly control.
Our Insecticidal Soap Insect Killer is available in several convenient sizes and contains potassium salts of fatty acids, an effective whitefly killing agent. EndALL™ features an exclusive blend of organic pyrethrin, potassium salts of fatty acids and neem oil to kill whiteflies in all stages of their development. EndALL™ is also an effective organic pest control for aphids, mealybugs and caterpillars. Pick up a bottle today and see how easy to is to end your whitefly problem!
Environmental Whitefly Control Options
Environmental management is another viable form of organic whitefly pest control requiring no chemicals whatsoever! This can include introducing predator species, such as ladybugs. Many people use a handheld vacuum cleaner to quickly remove whiteflies from plants. Lastly, disposable sticky traps, such as the Safer® Brand Sticky Whitefly Trap, can be used to catch these pests. Simply hang the trap above the infected plant, give the plant a shake, and the whiteflies will fly up and be lured into the trap.