Whiteflies are tiny white insects that can be found on many plants. At first glance, the insects may seem harmless, but they are actually causing damage to the plants by feeding on them and leaving behind a substances called honeydew. Honeydew causes the plant to develop fungal diseases, which slowly prevent it from using photosynthesis, and ultimately the plant dies. You can start the whiteflies removal with these tips.
First, damaged branches and leaves must be removed by trimming them from the plant. Check the plant for any signs of whiteflies and cut them away. The cuttings should be burned on placed in a sealed bag. Failure to do so will help the whiteflies spread to more plants, causing damage and more work for you.
Whiteflies can be treated with insecticides, but a rotation of them is needed. Over time, the whiteflies will build a resistance to the chemicals you use. Regular rotation will prevent the whiteflies from having time to adjust. Insecticides will need to be applied repeatedly, because their eggs and pupa can gain resistance to them as well. If the whiteflies aren’t stopped at a young stage, they will grow and make more whiteflies.
Whiteflies can also be eliminated with natural methods, although these methods may not work on all of the whitefly’s stages. Different variations of whiteflies have different lifespans, and learning them will help you know the right time to eliminate them. Using a natural treatment, timing is key to prevent the adult whiteflies from laying more eggs.
A soapy water solution is one of the best natural methods for the whiteflies removal. A tablespoon of liquid soap combined with 5 parts of water and 2 parts of rubbing alcohol will produce enough solution to fill a spray bottle with 32 ounces. Spray the solution all over the plant, including underneath the leaves, which is where the insects make their home. Foliage burn can be avoided by applying the solution late in the day.
While the soapy water solution is effective, it only works on the adult whiteflies. To kill the whiteflies as they exit their pupa form, spray the plants every 3 days. This process will need to be done over many weeks, with some whiteflies requiring more weeks of applications than others.
Whiteflies are drawn to yellow, so yellow cardboard or wood with an adhesive on it will trap the whiteflies. They will see the color and fly to the board, not realizing that there is adhesive on it, and becoming trapped until they die. You can make your own trap with glue or oil, or you can purchase them from a garden store. The traps shouldn’t be used in conjunction with other natural solutions.
If you prefer not to use soapy sprays or traps, there are other natural methods. Marigolds can be planted and Neem oil can be sprayed, as they repel whiteflies. Even earthworm casings sprayed at the plant’s base will stop the whiteflies. There are other insects that feed on whiteflies, making them a benefit to you. Lady beetles, damsel bugs, and green lacewings are a few predators that can be introduced to your plants and drive away whiteflies.
You can use any of these methods to get rid of whiteflies, but remember that you must use them repeatedly. A lull in the attack will allow the whitefly population to increase, and you’ll be back to where you started.