natural pest control

11 Home Remedies to Get rid of Whiteflies Naturally [Step by Step Process]

Whiteflies are a type of bugs that commonly affect houseplants and garden plants. These small white insects with wings can easily damage your plants and spread plant diseases.

Whiteflies usually live underneath the leaves, and they suck the sap from the plants. The major problem related to whiteflies is their ability to spread diseases.

As they suck the sap, they introduce toxic saliva, which weakens the plants allowing fungi, mold, bacteria, and viruses to grow. The whitefly is capable of spreading over 60 different viral diseases in plants. 

Whiteflies can cause extensive damage to crops. It is needless to say that they can cause massive damage to your garden as well. Whiteflies can spread from one plant to another quite easily, so it is alway a good idea to get rid of them as soon as you see them.

Whiteflies can not be controlled by synthetic pesticides, as they become resistant to these harsh chemicals quickly. Pesticides are also harmful as they kill many beneficial insects and increase the toxicity of the plants.

Besides it is not safe to use pesticides for houseplants and small gardens. So natural treatments are the way to go.

There are several natural remedies for treating whiteflies which is both safe for you and the environment. In this article, we will take a look at all the natural ways to get rid of whiteflies

11 Effective Home Remedies to Get Rid of Whiteflies Naturally

1. Spray them off

If you are dealing with a small number of whiteflies on your houseplant or in a small garden, then the first thing to do is to spray or hose them off.

Whiteflies are very small and if you drown them in water, they will die quite quickly. This method will only work if you have a small amount of whiteflies present. 

Materials Required:

  •  Water Hose or Sprayer. 

Step by Step Process:

  • Start by identifying where the whiteflies are living. They usually attack new growth and the underside of leaves. 
  • Attach a hose to a water source and turn it on. 
  • Now spray the water directly towards the leaves until you see the whiteflies falling off. 
  • Make sure to cover the plants from the top to the bottom, to make sure that the bugs do not crawl down. 

Precautions:

Whiteflies may return again, as this method does not guarantee that they are completely gone. So keep a close eye on your plants and repeat the process as required. 

2. Vacuum them 

If you have a few whiteflies on your houseplants, then this is a good method for you. This will not work for a garden as it is not very efficient for large amounts of plants.

If you vacuum your plants and then get rid of the bugs then there is a very good chance that they won’t come back and attack your plants again. 

Materials Required:

  • Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Step by Step Process:

  • Take your plants outside. 
  • Identify the position of the whiteflies. 
  • Switch on your vacuum cleaner and start vacuuming the whiteflies from your plants. 
  • Some of them may get dislodged and they may jump off, make sure to catch this with your vacuum as well. 
  • Finish the process by checking for any remaining whiteflies. If there are none of them left, you can take your plant inside. 
  • Dispose the vacuum dust outside in an area that is far away from your plants. 

Precautions:

The main concern with this method is that the whiteflies may return. If they had laid eggs then those might hatch and infest your plant again. So keep your plants in check and try other methods if they come back again. 

3. Castile Soap Spray 

Soap spray is an easy and natural method to get rid of whiteflies. It can be made at home easily and reused again and again.

It is also a very cheap option, as it costs only a few bucks to buy a big bottle of castile soap. Castile soap is made from natural oils, so there is no chance of toxicity.

Soap water kills the bugs by shedding their outer layer of the skin. But fortunately, soap water is not harmful to your plants. 

Materials Required:

  • 1 tablespoon castile soap
  • 1 gallon water
  • Spray bottle

Step by Step Method:

  • Mix One tablespoon of castile soap to one gallon of water. You can also mix ½ tablespoon to ½ gallon if you think you don’t need as much. 
  • Shake the spray bottle well and let it settle for a bit. 
  • Now spray this mixture onto your plants that have been affected by whiteflies. This method will work for both the whiteflies and their eggs. 
  • Cover the entire plant in this solution. Spray the underside of the leaves, the stems, and also spray it around the plant on the soil, as some of these bugs can jump off into the soil. 
  • Repeat this process every few days (twice a week) for around 2 to 3 weeks until all the bugs die. 

Precautions:

Don’t spray this mixture during the daytime when the sun is at its peak. It may hinder the plant’s ability to photosynthesize. Always spray this mixture during early morning or late afternoon. 

4. Neem Oil 

Neem Oil is a natural insecticide which causes no harm to your plants while proving effective against many types of insects.

You can commonly find neem oil in your local garden shop or even online. It is poisonous for whiteflies and several other insects, but it is completely safe for your trees as well as you.

The only downside to this method is that it may kill other beneficial insects as well. You can take precautions to prevent it. 

Materials Required:

  • 1 tablespoon of neem oil
  • 1 gallon of water
  • A spray bottle

Step by Step Method:

  • Mix 1 tablespoon of neem oil in one gallon of water.
  • Mix the two together until they are completely mixed.
  • Now spray the plants from top to bottom with this solution. 
  • Focus on the spots that have the most whiteflies. 
  • Repeat this process every three to four days for at least 2 weeks. 

Precautions:

Although neem oil is a natural method, it can harm some of the good insects in your garden as well, such as bees, ladybugs etc. So always spray the mixture before the sun is up, i.e. early morning, or late in the evening. This way you can prevent killing the beneficial insects. 

5. Homemade Spray 

The Homemade spray is simply a mixture of neem oil and soap solution. Although you can easily use either of the two mixtures separately, the combination of the two is much more potent and helps you kill off the insects much faster.

This method works fast, so you do not have to keep spraying your garden again and again. Only one treatment is enough. 

Materials Required:

  • 1 tablespoon neem oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure castile soap
  • 1 gallon water
  • Spray bottle

Step by Step process:

  • Mix 1 tablespoon of neem oil, 1 tablespoon of pure castile soap in one gallon of water.
  • Mix the ingredients well by shaking the bottle thoroughly.
  • Now spray this mixture on the areas of your plant that is infested by whiteflies. 
  • Try to cover all the areas, and make sure you don’t miss any whitefly eggs. 
  • Loosely spray all over the plants. The whiteflies should die within a day and there is no need to repeat this process. 

Precautions:

This spray may kill the beneficial insects in your garden as well. And the soap can hinder the plant’s ability to photosynthesise. This is why you should always spray this mixture at dawn, or late afternoon, when the beneficial insects are not present. 

6. Sticky Traps 

Whiteflies are attracted to the colour yellow. Yellow Sticky traps are designed to attract the insects towards it, and when they land on it, they get trapped in the glue, and eventually die.

This method may not work for a huge infestation, but if you start to see a few whiteflies on your plant, this method will definitely help you. You can get yellow sticky traps of different sizes and they are quite inexpensive as well. 

Materials Required:

  • Yellow Sticky Traps

Step by Step Method:

  • Depending upon the position of your plants, you have to place a few sticky traps among your garden. If you are trying to kill whiteflies in a houseplant, then one is enough. 
  • Use a wire and a stick to set up the traps in between your plants. 
  • Dispose off the sticky traps once they are covered in insects and then apply some new ones to prevent more whiteflies. 

Precautions:

Make sure to not apply sticky traps near plants that need pollination. If you do so, you can accidentally trap bees, which are beneficial for your garden. 

7. Cut off the infested leaves 

If the infestation has gone rouge and you are not sure about using any spray or other methods.

This is quite tedious and you may require to pair this method along with other previously mentioned methods to clean your plants completely from whiteflies.

However, the benefit of this method is that your plants will not die from the toxic saliva from the whiteflies. They will also not get diseases due to the whiteflies. 

Materials Required:

  • A pair of pruning shears
  • A bucket or bowl with soapy water. 

Step By Step method:

  • Identify the areas with the most whiteflies. Usually they are present under your plant leaves, and new growth. 
  • Now start pruning away at the diseased leaves. 
  • Remove the whitefly ridden leaves and put them into your bucket of soapy water. This will help kill them. 
  • You should keep an eye on your plants for any new whitefly growth. 

Precautions:

This method does not guarantee that the whiteflies would not come back. So you may have to keep pruning your plants a few times every month.

You may also employ some preventative measures for your plants after the pruning to make sure that the whiteflies don’t come back. 

8. Introduce natural predators: 

Natural Predators are a great way to keep whiteflies in control. One of the most commonly used natural predators is ladybugs. Ladybugs eat whiteflies and help keep them in control.

This method of whitefly control is great for any stage of the infestation. Whether you have a few whiteflies or a full-blown infestation, the ladybugs will definitely help clear them out. Lacewing larvae are also good natural predators. 

Materials Required:

  • Ladybugs

Step by Step Process:

  • If you have a small garden then a few hundred ladybugs is enough. 
  • Release them onto your plants. Especially the ones that have been heavily infested. 
  • Let them eat the whiteflies and naturally clear your garden. 
  • Release more ladybugs every season to make sure the whiteflies don’t come back. 

Precautions:

Don’t spray your plants with any insecticide after releasing the ladybugs. This may kill them in the process. 

9. Diatomaceous Earth 

Diatomaceous Earth is a great way to control whiteflies and several other insects. Whiteflies are soft-bodied insects, which means that they can easily be killed with Diatomaceous Earth.

It is a powder, which is harmless for humans, but deadly for insects. When the insects walk over this material on your plants, the powder essentially dries the insect’s body and kills them.

This method is great for both houseplants as well as gardens, as it is completely safe for humans. 

Materials Required:

  • Diatomaceous Earth powder
  • Applicator for Diatomaceous Earth powder

Step by Step Process:

  • Pour an ample amount of Diatomaceous earth powder in your applicator. 
  • Now spray it over your garden plants or houseplants, making sure to cover all the leaves. 
  • Also you can turn the applicator upside down and then spray the underside of the plants as well. 
  • Repeat this process every week or two to make sure that the pests don’t come back. 
  • If there is a rain or you have sprinkled your plants with lots of water, then the powder will wash off, so you will have to re-apply it. 

Precautions:

Although this organic material is completely safe for humans, it is still recommended that you wear a mask during the application process. This will make sure that you do not feel any irritation due to the powder. 

10. Horticultural Oil 

Horticultural Oil is a petroleum-based oil that is commonly used for controlling aphids. It can also be used for Whiteflies. This oil is harmless for the plants and also does not create any toxicity for humans.

The oil smothers the whiteflies, which prevents them from being able to fly or reproduce. This method is usually effective if you have a small number of whiteflies. 

Materials Required:

  • 2 Tablespoon horticultural oil 
  • 1 gallon water 
  • Spray bottle 

Step by Step Method:

  • Put the oil and the water in your spraying jug and mix well. 
  • Now spray the areas that have the most whiteflies present. Make sure to also cover any branches where whiteflies have laid eggs. 
  • Repeat this process once or twice a week, depending upon the number of whiteflies present, until the infestation stops. 

Precautions:

Don’t spray this mixture during a very hot day (90 F or higher), as it will make your plants wither. Also avoid any flowers and blooms. 

11. Garlic Spray: 

This homemade spray is sure to repel any whiteflies from your houseplants. You can use this in your garden as well, but that will also drive away the beneficial insects such as honeybees, so it is a good idea to limit this to houseplants.

A simple garlic spray will ward off whiteflies from your houseplants and keep them from coming back. It is a completely homemade natural insect repellent spray. 

Materials Required:

  • Two bulbs of garlic
  • ½ cup of water
  • A spray bottle

Step by Step Method:

  • To make the garlic spray, first puree two bulbs of garlic in a blender. 
  • Now boil about ½ cup of water and pour it on the puree. 
  • Let it steep overnight, then strain the mixture into a bowl. 
  • Pour your garlic spray into your spray bottle and now you are ready to spray it on your plants. 
  • Target the areas that have the whiteflies, and spray. 
  • Spray your plants thoroughly from top to bottom. 
  • You can keep spraying your plants with this mixture everyday if you see the whiteflies have not gone away. 
  • For maintenance, you can keep spraying the mixture to your plants every week or two. Always make a fresh batch before doing so. 

Precautions:

Garlic spray is all natural so there is nothing to worry about. Make sure that you have covered your entire plant otherwise the whiteflies may come back. 

5 Effective Natural Ways to Prevent Whiteflies

1. Keep Your Plants Healthy

Insects always attack the plants that are the weakest. So keeping your plants healthy will make sure that whiteflies don’t attack them.

To keep your plants healthy, you should repot them in time, fertilize the soil as needed, keep them in the correct temperature and make sure that predators like birds or rats are not eating away at them.

Keeping your plants healthy is key to keeping pests like whitefly away. As long as your plants are healthy, whiteflies most probably won’t affect them, however, if it does, you always have the methods to get rid of them. 

2. Host Plants

Host plants are commonly used in vegetable gardens to keep pests away from the real crops. This is a great option for those who do small scale organic farming in their backyard, and for those who have a garden in general.

A host plant will attract the majority of the bugs to them, keeping them away from the other plants. This way you don’t need to kill the pests, and you can continue gardening without worry.

The best host plant for whiteflies is Nasturtium. This plant also has beautiful flowers, so it adds to your garden while also being functional. 

3. Allow Natural Predators in Your Garden

Natural Predators such as ladybugs, lacewing larvae and several other beneficial insects help prevent whiteflies in your garden.

These bugs will eat the whitefly, thus keeping them in control. To make sure that these natural predators are in full effect, refrain from spraying your garden with any insecticide. 

4. Control Ants 

Ants protect and farm whiteflies and aphids. These insects secrete a liquid called honeydew, which the ants eat. So if you see a lot of ants on your plants, you may also notice whiteflies.

To make sure that the aphids don’t go out of control, it is a good idea to control the ants first. If the ants are gone, then the aphids will not grow as well.

5. Reflective Mulch 

Reflective mulches are used for many different purposes, but they are also great for preventing whiteflies.

When the flies come near the mulch, they become confused and so they will not sit on your plants. It is not a foolproof method, but it works quite well. The only problem with this method is a long and tedious installation process. 

Conclusion:

Pests and insects are a natural part of any garden, however they can hinder the growth of crops and destroy our garden quite easily. Whiteflies are small yet they are capable of affecting many plants quite severely.

They usually attack plants such as tomatoes, capsicum, cabbages etc. They also affect a lot of houseplants such as rose plants, and several other flowering plants. In any case, keeping whiteflies under control is key to having healthy plants.

If you are seeing whiteflies around your plants, then it’s high time to get rid of them and also start taking measures to prevent them from coming back. Happy gardening!

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