How to Get Rid of Whiteflies

Picture by: Scola

Having whiteflies in your garden can be a real headache. If not controlled, they can have long-lasting effects on vegetables, fruit trees, and flowers. They suck the sap of the plants, depriving them of the nutrients. Lack of nutrients results in yellowing of the leaves and reduces the plant’s strength.  Whiteflies excrete honeydew which covers the underside of the leaves, making them unable to photosynthesize. Adverse infestation can kill the plant and can indirectly cause viral diseases.

Getting rid of whiteflies can be a laborious process when you give your plants little attention. Regular inspection of the plants is essential for early detection before depositing their larvae on the underside of the leaves. Once they attach themselves to the bottom of the leaves, you cannot identify them quickly.

Types of Plants Mostly Affected

Whiteflies affect varieties of plants. You have probably come across them on ornamental flowers, vegetables, or tree fruits that grow in warm weather. The affected Ornamental plants include begonia, chrysanthemum, coleus, poinsettia, fuchsia, geraniums, gerbera, hibiscus, roses petunia and salvia. Vegetables; Tomatoes, eggplant, pepper, cabbage. Fruit Trees; guava, papaya, citrus trees, grapes and tomato fruit.

How to Control Whiteflies?

Flickering whiteflies do not solve your infestation problem. They find their back to the plant. To completely eliminate whiteflies, try alternating the following methods;

  • Blasting a stream of water on the plant knock pests, eggs, and larvae off the plant. Whitefly nymphs once have been knocked starve to death due to their immobility. 
  • Crushing fresh garlic, mix with water, is an excellent homemade repellant for outdoor plants.
  • It is best to quarantine new plants for a few weeks to avoid introducing pests to your garden.
  • Neem oil prevents whiteflies from laying eggs on the plant or the hatching of the already laid eggs. Drench the plant entirely with neem oil. Check the ratio here.
  • Whiteflies are attracted to the reflective fabric. Mulching susceptible plants with aluminum foil or reflective plastic make it difficult for whiteflies to identify the plant.
  • Yellow sticky traps can help you catch whiteflies.
  • Introducing predators such as ladybugs and lacewing larvae destroy eggs, nymphs and pupae.
  • Horticultural oils are effective in getting rid of the daunting whiteflies in all stages.
  • Remove the damaged leaves, which are beyond saving. Use a sharp pruning knife or shears to cut wilted leaves and those covered with honeydew. Put the cut leaves into a polythene bag and seal them properly for discarding.
  • Mix water and dishwashing soap or safer soap and use the mixture to wash the leaves. The soap coating kills the whiteflies mainly because the eggs and larvae cannot breathe. Check the mixing rate here. Spray the mixture drenching the plant and underside of the leaves. The process is repeated several times within a span of four days. 
  • Use a handheld vacuum to suck the flies, their eggs, and larvae. Ensure that you properly dispose them to avoid contamination or find their way back to the plant.
  • Make sure the plants receive adequate water and fertilizer. The plant is less likely to accede to the infestation.
  • Instead of getting rid of new plants, you can sanitize them for a few weeks before introducing them to your garden.

How to Prevent Whiteflies Infestation in Your Garden?

  • Before purchasing a new plant, inspect it to rule out any infestation or infection.
  • Quarantine new plants for about three to four weeks to spot and curb pests or diseases.
  • Sticky traps are effective in the early detection of whiteflies.
  • Keep your plant healthy through regular use of fertilizer to keep pests and diseases away. Slow-release fertilizers are the best. Over-fertilization encourages rapid reproduction of aphids.
  • Avoid excessive pruning it attracts whiteflies.
  • Inspect the plant regularly (once or twice a week) to detect any pest or diseases before they get out of hand. You can quickly get rid of pests or infections in the early stages of an attack.
  • Purchase beneficial insects or create a conducive environment for them to thrive. Insects such as ladybugs, spiders, green lacewing larvae, and dragonflies can keep away whiteflies. Hummingbirds prey on whiteflies; they are a great addition to your garden.
  • Plants such as catnip, bee balm, basil, chives, dill, French and Mexican marigolds are effective at repelling whiteflies.

Conclusion

Whiteflies can be such a nuisance. Implementing the techniques in this article helps you get rid of them without causing much damage. To get rid of whiteflies depends on correctly identifying the type that has infested your garden. They can grow resistant to particular kinds of insecticides, so alternate the use of pesticides.

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