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Simple Whitefly Control
Whiteflies rapidly wilt and kill many vegetable and ornamental plants. They attach to the underside of leaves, where they use their piercing and sucking mouthparts to suck the sap out. This weakens and eventually destroys the plants.
Conditions that encourage whiteflies on plants include:
- Warm weather - Late summer is when whiteflies are worst in many parts of the country.
- Humidity - Greenhouses and humid weather encourage whiteflies.
- Use of chemical pesticides - Many pesticides kill predatory insects as well as whiteflies.
How Can I Tell if I Have Whiteflies?
Whiteflies are small, winged insects about one-tenth to one-sixteenth of an inch long. Their bodies are shaped like little white triangles, and they tend to feed in clusters.
If you suspect a whitefly infestation, start by shaking your plant. Whiteflies will launch into the air like a white cloud, and then settle back onto the plant, crawling under the leaves again. Whiteflies also lay eggs on the underside of leaves. The eggs are usually laid in a circular pattern, and one female can lay up to 400 eggs although each clutch of eggs is typically 10-15 eggs. The eggs are greenish white and suspended from a tiny stalk that attaches the eggs to the leaf.
Eggs hatch into nymphs, also called crawlers. The nymphs are tiny, but you can see them with the naked eye. They look like tiny worms crawling around on the underside of leaves. Nymphs can also damage plants and can eventually pupate into adult whiteflies to continue the lifecycle.
How to Kill Whiteflies
Whiteflies can rapidly become a garden nuisance and are especially problematic in greenhouses. If you find that you have whiteflies, here’s how to kill whiteflies:
- Add yellow sticky traps to your plants and garden area. These are small squares of yellow cardboard with sticky glue on them. Whiteflies attach to the trap and can’t fly away.
- A strong jet of water from your garden hose can knock whiteflies off plants. Apply a solution of insecticidal soap such as Safer® Brand Insect Killing Soap.
- Add beneficial insects to the garden, or encourage them to make your garden their home by providing them with the host plants they love. Lady beetles, or ladybugs, eat white flies.
- Use aluminum reflective mulch. The shiny surface makes it hard for adult whiteflies to see host plants, so they move on to other gardens.
These whitefly control methods can help you reduce or eliminate whiteflies in the garden. Safer® Brand insect controls offer organic gardeners a method of whitefly control without harming beneficial predators such as ladybugs. Learn more about our whitefly control products today.