The Guide on Whiteflies
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- 21 July 2017
Shoo Fly, Don’t Bother Me.
Have you ever noticed any small whiteflies on your plants? Have you considered what they might be doing to those plants? These are probably questions you have already asked yourself which is why you are here.We are here to help. Below you will find a crash course on these not so innocent white insects.
Whiteflies can simply be described in appearance as small, triangular, white bugs. You will notice them only if you look closely at your plants. They are sap-sucking insects. Quite possibly the best thing about them is their impeccable timing to come out in the hottest conditions when you of course would rather be in the shade with a glass of ice cold lemonade. Whiteflies tend to feed on ornamentals and warm weather vegetable plants. Some examples of these would be:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Cabbage Family
Make Yourself Aware of these Whiteflies
We know what you are thinking, “why must the good ones go?” Never fear though, these whiteflies can be prevented. First thing to know is how these insects kill. Whiteflies suck on plant juices and produce a sticky-like honeydew on the underside of leaves. This honeydew like substance causes a fungal disease to your plants. Your plants will become extremely weak and may not be able to carry through the season.
When checking for whiteflies, take great observation to the underside of leaves around their veins. Nevertheless, there is a chance you will not see the whiteflies. In those cases, feel for a honeydew like substance as a precaution. If you do catch a glimpse of these insects, you will notice right away that they will scatter which is a clear sign they were feeding on your plant. It is important to take great caution to your leaves during mid-late summer seasons because that is why whiteflies produce eggs to create a next generation. Adult whiteflies can produce up to 400 eggs which will hatch anywhere between 1 week to a month. It’s critical to catch them while you can.
In the morning and evenings, check the back of your leaves for eggs. They tend to feast in the daytime, so catching them early is better. If you notice a huge ring of insects fly away, you will have the green light to move forward with removals. Start with blasting the whiteflies with water. All of the whiteflies should scatter at this point to give you the opportunity to take proceeding measures. You will need to spray your leaves with insecticidal soap.
- Insecticidal Soap:
- Dish Soap (One squirt)
- Lemon (whole lemon)
- Water (1 gallon)
Spray under the leaves during the cool of the day. Heat causes an adverse reaction, and since you are trying to save your plants, stick to the cooled down time of the day. We recommend doing this 2-3 time a week.
Call it crazy, but keeping natural predators around will actually reduce a whitefly takeover. Natural predators would include:
- Lacewing Larvae
(Pro Tip: Avoid using chemical based insecticides. Whiteflies are resistant to them and you will end up killing your natural predators instead)
Stick with us here, because we have one last crazy tip for you. Whiteflies have a giant attraction to the color yellow. They process it as new mass foliage to take over. Start with a small board painted in bright yellow. Mix a combination of half petroleum jelly and half dish detergent to create a gel. Spread your mixture over the yellow board and you have made your own trap for whiteflies. The gel like substance is sticky enough for the whiteflies to get stuck and die.
If you have any other question on whiteflies or other insects that are detrimental to your plants, reach out to us. We at Green Side Up want to help YOU! With our knowledgeable plant associates at your service 7 days a week, we will be sure to help you with all your needs.