If any you are experienced gardeners that take pride in their garden and plants or if you grow you’re own vegetables then its likely you would of encountered whiteflies. Whiteflies are considered one of the biggest threats to crop production not only in the US but also the UK these little critters eat the sugary sap from the host plant/crop, which leads to decolourisation and whilst they are sucking the sugars from the plant they release toxins that damages the plants ability to grow.
In some cases the plant will change colour completely and will not be able to grow to its full potential. So if you are seeing these whiteflies in your garden its certainly not healthy for any of your plants or crops, Lucky for you there are a few easy ways to get rid of whiteflies. You should first know what whiteflies look like so you can be sure that the problem you are having is definitely whiteflies.
Whitefly Appearance – Whitefly Identification
The first stage in getting rid of any fly is to correctly identify its species, This is also true when it comes to whitefly control. If you try to crane fly methods versus white fly its obviously not going to work, this is why its so important to get the identification process right. In this case whiteflies are very easy to spot.
Most commonly whiteflies have you guessed it white wings and a yellow thorax, You will noticed their little black eyes and two large antennas. These flies are small insects around 0.1-0.2 cm in body length, I say most commonly because there are a few different variations of whitefly which I will describe for you. Silverleaf white flies have clear wings that you can see though and again a yellow thorax. Another common type you may see are Greenhouse whiteflies which are more similar to your standard whiteflies apart their red eyes and slightly smaller size.
How to get rid of Whiteflies
As with all my methods on this site I tend to stay away from chemical pesticides, This for the most part works fine unless you have a very bad infestation. Whiteflies lucky can be control without the use of chemical pesticides which is good news considering they are very resistant to most common types of chemical pesticide. So here are my natural steps to get rid of whiteflies:
1- Remove any badly effected leafs from your plants/crops. You will want to cut any branches or leafs that are badly damaged and discoloured due to white fly attacks. You will then want to dispose of these off cuts correctly by either burning them or sealing them in a bag and throwing them in the garbage bin. The reason for this is because those off cuts will be covered in white fly eggs that are a potential new outbreak just waiting to happen when they hatch.
2- Now you are going to spray your plants with an insecticidal soap solution. You can buy these in my garden stores or you can make your own which I will describe how to below, Make sure when spraying your plants that you target the underneath of the leafs because this is where you will have the most success. I would also advise you to do this late afternoon early evening to protect your plants from sun damage.
Homemade insecticidal soap solution ingredients:
- Empty clean spray bottle 800ml
- Add 500ml of pure water
- 1 large teaspoon of pure soap (castile soap is good or you can use ivory)
- Then you want 200ml of Rubbing Alcohol
- Shake bottle
3- The next step is to make a trap to catch the remaining adult white flies. You can buy these also but its very easy to make your own at home. All you need to do is take a sheet of yellow cardboard and coat it in honey or another slow drying sticky substance. After you have made your whitefly trap you then want to put it underneath or close to your plants leafs. This will make the best use of them and you’ll find that you’re having to quickly remove the traps because they are covered in white fly.
4- The last stage is to create natural white fly repellents around your plants. You do this simply by planting new plants that whiteflies hate, Some good ones are Peppermint, Mexican marigolds and Nasturtiums. Having these plants potted up near your own will make it less likely that whiteflies will attack your plants.
So after following these 4 steps you know how to get rid of whiteflies I have no doubt that you will succeed in protecting your plants from these flies. Remember whitefly control is a constant process and you will likely need to stay on top of them until they stop appearing, which they will when you’ve got enough repellent in place. Had any success getting rid of your whitefly problem, Please let me know what you did in the comments below.