When you water your houseplants early or during the day, do you see white, flying insects? Is your garden looking a little less vibrant than it used to? You could also be getting leaves that are sticky for no apparent reason. Take a closer look because you could be dealing with a whitefly infestation. Fortunately, we’re here to assist you How to get rid of whiteflies and infestations in your prized indoor plants and taking steps to avoid them from occurring in the first place!
What Are Whiteflies?
Unlike aphids and mealybugs, whiteflies have soft, winged bodies and are closely related to whiteflies. Whiteflies, notwithstanding their name, are not a fly species, even though they have wings and can fly.
It’s most commonly found on the undersides of the leaves; whiteflies can be as tiny as 1/12 of an inch long, with a triangular shape. Because they are more active during the day and disperse when disturbed, they are easier to find than certain nocturnal pests.
Whiteflies can be found in hundreds of species, although they target only a few host plants. Dealing with whiteflies is one of the most difficult parts of plant cultivation; it infests many plants. They include the banded winged and enormous whiteflies and the silver-leafed and greenhouse whiteflies. Southern whiteflies, shorter and more yellow than other whiteflies, are the most prevalent.
Whiteflies: How to Spot Them?
Aphids and whiteflies utilize their piercing mouthparts to feed on plant fluids to make the honeydew. If honeydew is left to build on leaves, it can grow fungal diseases like sooty mold.
Plants that are heavily whitefly fed will quickly grow weak and may not be able to perform photosynthesis as a result. Leaf wilting, yellowing, and stunting development are all signs that a plant is suffering from a fungal infection.
Whiteflies produce honeydew as a sign that they’ve been feeding for a few days. Ants, which are drawn to honeydew, may also be spotted.
Treatment: How to get rid of whiteflies?
The best times to deal with whiteflies are in the early morning or late evening when they are dormant. To keep the whiteflies at bay, you’ll need to employ a mix of the methods listed below. You may have to repeat the process several times before eradicating the infestation.
Hose it off
After you’ve brought your plant outside, spray it down to help disperse adults and larvae. Observe the bottom of leaves and new growth, especially in the springtime. Insects can hop between plants while you’re treating your plant, so be sure to keep it far from your other plants.
Use a natural repellant
Adding a naturally repelled plant near your infected plants (after a few days of isolation to ensure its health!) is a safe and straightforward technique to help repel whiteflies. If you want to keep whiteflies away, grow strong-smelling plants such as mint, parsley, or another aromatic plant like onion, nasturtiums or zinnias, or pineapple sage or bee balm. After ejecting and killing eggs and larvae, it can help keep whiteflies away when used in conjunction with a good hose-down and a soap spray.
Prune and treat
Keeping your foliage trimmed will help to keep whiteflies at bay. The pests can be killed by dipping leaves containing visible eggs or larvae in rubbing alcohol or a solution of dishwater and soap, and then dealing with the fliers before they lay any more eggs; utilize sticky traps in conjunction with this method for effective treatment (keep a lookout for a comeback in egg sales, although). Using this method effectively requires early detection of the issue.
Neem oil or a soap spray can be used to get rid of these pests by spraying the underside of your plant’s leaves. At cooler times of day, spraying is most effective. You don’t want to disrupt photosynthesis by spraying your plant’s leaves on the top, where whiteflies aren’t likely to be found. A few choices are available:
To produce your homemade soap spray, combine 1 liter of warm water with eight drops of dish soap in a spray bottle. Use the spray directly on leaves. Check the mixture’s effect on your plant’s leaves first by saturating an unnoticed leaf with soap spray and checking again in 2 days; if you see any leaf burn, you may need to add more water or less soap to the mixture. After a few minutes, rinse the plant to dislodge the dead bugs (since they can attract more pests) and continue every other day until the problem is solved. It may take a few weeks for the bugs to be eliminated.
You can also use a vinegar and water solution, but test it first on a single leaf and adjust the concentration as necessary. Continue until the desired result is achieved.
Neem oil is a natural scented oil that has long-lasting benefits and effectively treats and prevents pests. Spray the underside of the leaves with a solution made of 1 teaspoon Neem oil, one tablespoon dish soap, and 1 liter of water, if desired, to aid in adhesion. As with the other mixes, test for leaf burn on a single leaf before diluting. Remove any remaining dead bugs and reapply oil as necessary until all whiteflies have been eliminated. Neem oil can also be used regularly as a preventative precaution against new infestations. Neem oil should not be used on plants exposed to direct sunlight, as the oil can trap heat and deplete the plant’s water supply.
Yellow sticky traps
Yellow appears to whiteflies as an abundance of fresh vegetation. Yellow sticky trap packs (branded for gnats, but they work just as well for whiteflies and other flying pests) are great for drawing them quickly. Make your own by smearing petroleum jelly on the back of a yellow index card. As a result of their attraction to the yellow, they will either become stuck or become trapped and die. Using sticky traps alone will not stop them from returning; you must also use one of the other methods indicated here to deal with any eggs that may have been left on the underside of leaves after using this technique. It’s a good idea to keep new sticky traps fitted as a preventative measure once the whiteflies have been eradicated. There are a variety of solutions (such as tape and stakes), so choose the one that works best for you.
Use a vacuum
Doing this every few days will ensure that you remove all the eggs, larvae, and adults from the underside of the leaves in your garden. Before you empty your vacuum, remember to throw out the trash! Remember that single female whitefly can deposit up to 400 eggs, so protect your plant well.
The presence of whiteflies in a garden might be a bother. It is possible to get rid of them naturally without damaging the rest of your landscape. Is there anything else you’d like to share about how to get rid of whiteflies and other garden pests naturally? Please share your thoughts in the space provided!