They’re white winged insects that look very similar to aphids. They unusually grow to be more than a few tenths of an inch long and are skilled at hiding among lawn debris. There are a few unique whitefly species, including the silver leaf whitefly. Different species vary slightly in color, shape, and size, some with a more yellowish color.
Whiteflies nourish on plants by sucking juices from the leafage. In heavily infested plants, this process restricts photosynthesis. They can spread fungal diseases and viral infections that can cause serious damage to your garden plants.
The Whitefly Life Cycle
Whiteflies overwinter and are active in the summer season. They reproduce numerous times throughout the warm months.
Whiteflies lay eggs on the underneath of leaves. One female can lay up to 400 eggs!
What do whiteflies eat?
Different species of whiteflies nourish on different kinds of plants. For example, the cabbage whitefly nourishes on brassica species.
There are whiteflies that nourish on a wide range of various agricultural crops, including citrus, most fruits and vegetables, and some ornamental plants. Whiteflies are a vector for almost a hundred different plant infections and can spread those diseases during feeding.
How to get rid of whiteflies naturally?
1. Neem Oil
Neem oil is much safer than toxic chemicals to effectively curb this pest. Just mix in a sprayer as instructed on the bottle and spray on the leaves.
Also, as with any pesticide, to prevent harming butterflies, bees, and other pollinators, use it in the early morning or late evening hours when these beneficial pests are not active. Drying the neem oil will not damage these insects.
If you grab them early, before serious infestation, you can just use a vacuum cleaner to suck the whiteflies off the plants.
3. Beneficial Insects
Many pests and birds are natural predators of the whitefly. These beneficial insects usually exist naturally in your geography and garden. Some of the most greedy predators of whiteflies are ladybugs, green lacewings and birds including kinglets, phoebes, swallows, and hummingbirds.
4. Rue or Eucalyptus
You can make a powerful tea from the leaves of these plants that can be used effectively to curb whiteflies when sprayed on the leaves.
5. This product can be utilized indoors or outdoors as a spray to choke whiteflies.
6. Alcohol Spray
Stir 4 ounces of 70% isopropyl alcohol to 12 ounces of water and spray the leafage of plants. Some plants are sensitive to alcohol and leafage can be burned. Test sensitivity by sprinkling a leaf or two of a plant and wait a day or so to notice if there is tolerance.
How to Control Whiteflies
1. Chemical Insecticides
The use of chemicals should be the last option when there is a large infestation. Malathion or Pyrethrins are productive for killing whiteflies. Follow mixing instructions on the product tag and then spray the leaves, where whiteflies hang out.
Though not completely effective in controlling whiteflies, yellow sticky traps can be helpful indoors or outdoors as a monitor to let you inform if and when whiteflies have moved in.
3. Yellow light bulb
The yellow light bulb can be wielded indoors or in the greenhouse to attract and then catch the whiteflies. Contrary to bug zappers, beneficial pests will not be killed by the yellow light bulbs.
How to prevent whiteflies?
1. Insecticidal soap
Whiteflies are soft-bodied insects and can be successfully avoided and controlled with insect soap sprays.
2. Repellant Plants
There are limited plants that really repel the whitefly. African and French marigolds, Peruvian cherry, Nasturtiums, Calendula are a few.
3. Shoofly Plant
Shoofly plants will trap whiteflies on the leaves of plants that are growing inside the house.
4. Nutrient Deficiencies
The presence of whiteflies, especially on pepper and tomato plants, can be an indicator of magnesium and phosphorus deficiency. Epsom salts can be used to rectify magnesium deficiencies.
5. Seaweed Spray
Misting the leaves of plants with a seaweed spray makes them unpleasant for whiteflies to reproduce on. Your plants will also receive all the other various benefits from the seaweed spray.
Frequently asked Questions
1. How to get rid of whiteflies on plants?
Use a spray of water to blow whiteflies and wash them off your plants and leaves. You should then rub a weak solution of soft soap onto the leaves in the late afternoon. Repeat this procedure every week to control and get rid of whiteflies.
2. Do ladybugs eat whiteflies?
The most common pests that ladybugs eat are aphids, which are severe pests of plants. That’s why ladybugs can be the gardener’s best buddy. They will control the pest insects in the lawn without the gardener having to apply chemical pesticides. They also eat different insects that have soft bodies, like whiteflies, mites, and scale insects – all of which are pests of plants.
3. Does malathion kill whiteflies?
Malathion or Pyrethrins are helpful for killing whiteflies. Follow mixing instructions on the product label and then sprinkle on the leaves, where whiteflies hang out. You’ll require to spray again every 3 days until there are no whiteflies.
4. Do praying mantis eat whiteflies?
Praying mantises will eat whitefly, aphids, and others. The fragile-looking green lacewings feed on mites, aphids, and other tiny insects and insect eggs. Praying mantis egg cases can also be bought, but only during spring. Spot them in the lawn, where the mantises will hatch by summertime
5. What plants do whiteflies like?
Whiteflies manage to suck on ornamentals and warm-weather vegetable plants, including eggplant, tomatoes, okra, and peppers. They also love sweet potatoes and plants from the cabbage family.
You can now use effective methods and precautionary steps to get rid of whiteflies. They are not a permanent infestation but they can be removed too. So have patience and try buying the products or follow homemade methods to get rid of whiteflies.