When it comes to our gardens, some of the smallest pests that infiltrate crops can cause the most significant problems. Whiteflies are a pest that is a nuisance to gardeners and can wreak havoc on both ornamental and edible plants.
When whiteflies settle in on host plants, they feed off the plants’ leaves, sucking the sap from their veins, thereby depleting their nutrient stores and diminishing their overall health. Plant leaves may wither, discolor, and drop off of the plant when an infestation occurs.
Not only do whiteflies cause direct damage to plants, but they also readily spread damaging diseases from plant to plant, so they really can cause lots of trouble for gardeners desperately trying to grow healthy crops.
Check out our tips and tricks for how to get rid of whiteflies so that your plants can reach their fullest potential.
What Are Whiteflies?
With over 1200 varieties of whiteflies and thousands of other insects in the world, you may wonder how to distinguish the whitefly from other garden bugs. Read further to discover how to find and how to get rid of whiteflies.
- Look for tiny, gnat-sized insects that are discernable by their tiny, white, moth-like wings.
- Shake the plant- if many tiny flies scatter when you shake the plant, you likely have a whitefly problem.
- Look for sticky substances on plant leaf surfaces. Whiteflies release a sticky emission called honeydew. This can lead to black mold disease on plants. If found, wash away with water to entirely remove it.
- Keep a close eye out for white egg clusters on the undersides of the leaves.
- Look for dropping leaves, yellowing, and withering.
- Keep an eye out for poor growth.
- Place yellow cardstock strips coated with petroleum jelly around your plants. Whiteflies will seek out the bright yellow, and you might be able to identify whiteflies when they get stuck.
How To Get Rid Of Whiteflies?
It can be challenging to manage whiteflies once they establish themselves in your garden beds. They are resistant to many insecticides, and it is best to try to treat your plants organically so as not to harm the environment. Check out these tips on how to get rid of whiteflies effectively and organically.
Look for a Whitefly Infestation
Keep a close eye on your plants so that you can detect any whitefly concerns early before they lay eggs and truly infest your plants. Act promptly if you suspect whiteflies.
Utilize Sticky Whitefly Traps
Pick up some sticky whitefly traps at your local nursery or garden center. Their bright yellow hue is appealing and attractive to whiteflies, and the sticky surface stops them in their tracks. Hang them from plants that are prone to whiteflies. Use one trap for every two plants.
Companion Planting To Get Rid Of Whiteflies
Companion planting with intention and diversity can help keep whitefly populations at bay naturally. By mixing up different plantings in the garden bed, you can attract beneficial insects that can patrol your crops and prey on destructive insects like whiteflies.
By planting things like borage, coneflower, anise hyssop, bee balm, and fennel in your garden beds, beneficial insects and birds will be lured in and can keep whiteflies at bay.
Beneficial garden friends that feed on whiteflies include:
- Lace wigs
- Parasitic wasp
Pro Tip– Dust build-up and tiny ants on plants can prohibit some of these beneficial insects from gaining access to the whitefly pests. Periodically spray plants with sharps bursts of water from the hose to clear the way for your beneficial insects to do their work.
Introduce Ladybugs Into The Garden
Did you know that you can purchase ladybugs and introduce them into your garden? Adding these beneficial insects to the garden can help control the population of garden pests.
Remove Whitefly Infested Leaves & Branches
Snip off infested leaves and branches where nymphs and pupa are visibly present. Check the undersides of leaves and stems thoroughly. Dispose of contaminated debris completely and far away from the garden beds.
Spray Plants With Hose Sprayer To Remove Whiteflies
After removing the affected foliage, spray down the plant thoroughly with the hose to shoo away any adult whiteflies and their feces from the plant.
Vacuum Leaves Gently to Remove Whiteflies
Use a hand vacuum on a low setting to vacuum leaves for any stray adults and larvae on and under plant leaves. Use care not to damage plant foliage, however.
Apply Horticultural Oil to Deter Whiteflies
Neem oil can have a natural insecticidal effect when it is applied to plant leaves. Neem oil can suffocate larvae and nymphs and deters insects that seek to feed on plant leaves. Apply it when rain is not in the forecast for the best results. You will need to reapply it after it rains.
Utilize Insecticidal Soap to Treat Infested Plants
Check with your local nursery for an organically approved insecticidal soap. Spray generously onto your plants, trees, shrubs, flowers, fruits, and vegetables to protect them from damaging insects like whiteflies.
Early detection is key to warding off and managing whiteflies in your garden beds. Keep a keen eye out for signs of whitefly garden pests and combat them anytime you see evidence of them. If whiteflies do become a nuisance in your garden bed, do not fret. The tips and tricks that we have suggested will undoubtedly help you on your quest for how to get rid of whiteflies once and for all, resulting in happy, healthy, and fruitful plants.