Whiteflies

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Here are tips on how to identify, eliminate, and control whiteflies.

What are Whiteflies?

Whiteflies are soft-bodied, winged insects closely related to aphids. They can be found in most any region, but they are so tiny that they are usually camouflaged. They can be as small as 1/12 of an inch, and are often found in clusters on the undersides of leaves. They are active during the daytime, so they are easier to spot than some other nocturnal pests. Whiteflies are capable of over wintering and reproducing throughout the year in warmer climates.

How to Identify Whiteflies

Whiteflies ingest plant juices and in turn produce a sticky substance known as honeydew. Honeydew left on its own can cause fungal diseases to form on leaves. Plants will become extremely weak and may be unable to carry out photosynthesis. Leaves may dry out and turn yellow, and growth will be stunted. Check undersides of leaves around the veins for flies, even if they aren’t visible, feel leaf surfaces for honeydew.

Eggs are also laid on the undersides of leaves. Adult females can produce up to 400 eggs, which can hatch anytime between one week and a month. They are usually laid in a circular pattern.

How to get rid of Whiteflies

  • Spray with insecticidal soap. Follow up twice or three times.
  • Ladybugs and spiders may help control whitefly population.
  • Some garden and hardware stores sell whitefly traps, which may be useful, although not as successful as insecticidal soap.
  • Try this homemade mixture from the Almanac to control and deter whiteflies: In a 32-ounce spray bottle mix 2 parts rubbing alcohol, 5 parts water, and 1 tablespoon liquid soap. Spray the mixture on the foliage of garden plants that are susceptible to these pests.

 

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Comments

I am attempting something of

By martin maughan

I am attempting something of a different approach. Incense. I have been trying to smoke em out. the garden beans seem to love it. more leaves forming now, as before the plants seemed to be stunted. not sure if the plants are reacting to the weather or the incense? the temp highs have been nearly unchanged. overnight lows petty much unchanged. anyway the flies are still present, but I have only burned the incense twice. keeping them up wind and safe of course from fire danger. I only do this while i'm tending the garden. it takes me about 1/2 hour to water all my garden. I now use 8 gallons a day. was 6 but the plants I started with were doing so well that I planted 8 more types (cabbage,cauliflower,parsley,onion,pea,spinach,squash,a yellow garden bean)and a neighbor informed me or the marigolds so they are throughout my garden now,well they just broke ground 3 days ago. I sure hope I don't lose the garden due to heat. the 8 gallons is split 3 times a day. sunrise then between 11:30am-1:30pm depending on soil moisture then before sunset. I keep the two 1 gallon milk containers and two 1 gallon water containers outside during the day to water with ambient temp H2o and inside at night for high 60deg H2o.

I am not able to log in says

By martin maughan on March 26

I am not able to log in says my name not a user yet heres my post

Previously we have lived in

By judy dischner

Previously we have lived in Phx 17 years and in CA 23 yrs and here in San Diego area 13 yrs. only 4 yrs ago have I encountered whitefly. At what point do we cut down the plant? My mature hibiscus was afflicted twice and now they have moved on to mature Flax plants. I fear they will just keep moving on and never be controlled

See the recommendations for

By Almanac Staff

See the recommendations for sprays, traps and predetors on this page. Be diligent. If you are using sprays or just a water spray, spray daily in the evening and/or early morning. And make sure to spray the underside of the leaves.

White flies have infested my

By Oscar Jackson

White flies have infested my tea leaves, can I wash them with insecticide soap? Also, would I be able to boil them to make tea?
Thank you.

Hi Oscar, Only use healthy

By Almanac Staff

Hi Oscar,

Only use healthy leaves to make tea and destroy infected leaves. See tips on how to get rid of whiteflies on this page. Insecticidal soap is one of the recommendations.

The focus above is on killing

By Tom Holmes

The focus above is on killing the white flies after they are on your fruit or flowers.

It should be on what can I do to my soil to keep the flies away.

Exactly! The only way I have

By paul mares

Exactly!
The only way I have found to rid my peas and tomatoes of whiteflies is
by placing worm castings around the base of the plants and watering it in.
Something in the castings makes the plants taste bad for the bugs! That's the explanation I was given.

Info from another

By Tom Holmes

Info from another website

Whiteflies cam be an indicator of phosphorous and magnesium deficiencies. You can correct magnesium deficiencies by mixing 4 ounces of Epsom salts with 1 gallon of water. Use as a soil soak for infested plants. We won't say that this is a cure all but it can certainly benefit your plant especially tomatoes and peppers.

Whitefly predators include

By Almanac Staff

Whitefly predators include lacewings and lady beetles. There are also a number of naturally occurring parasites that can be very important in controlling them.

 

 

I been having whiteflies all

By freddy castillo

I been having whiteflies all over inside my house for a long times , l used all king stufs and l cant finished them , right know is crazzy they going under my blanke went l'm sleeping. , is that soup solution work inside the house to

Insecticidal soap is only

By Almanac Staff

Insecticidal soap is only meant to be used on plants. We'd not recommend using it for general house pest control. We are puzzled why whiteflies would be in areas far from plants (such as blankets), as their food is plant juices rather than fabric, etc. There are other insects that look similar to whiteflies, such as various gnats (fruit flies, fungus gnats, etc.) and tiny moths, such as clothes moths. If you are not sure what insects you have, we'd suggest that you contact a pest control expert, who could identify the pest and make recommendations as to how to control them. For example, the webbing clothes moth (not the case-making variety) can be controlled by placing pheromone traps made specifically for that species in appropriate areas.

For identification of some common household pests, you might check out:

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/T/I-LP-TBIS-AD.001.html

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7435.html

https://insects.tamu.edu/fieldguide/cimg263.html

http://lancaster.unl.edu/hort/articles/2005/fungusgnat.shtml

http://www.nwpotatoresearch.com/IPM-WhiteFlies.cfm

If you are sure these are whiteflies, check where they are coming from, such as if you have any plants, or food, that might be luring them. Toss out any infested food; use recommended controls on the plants. Because the flies are appearing in other areas of the house, you might try placing yellow sticky traps in various locations (out of the way of children or pets) to try to catch the adult whiteflies.

Keep up with the vacuuming and laundering, to catch any eggs or nymphs/larvae that might be hidden on surfaces (such as carpets)--although for whiteflies, they would usually be right on the plant itself.

Hope this helps!

 

Greetings! Whiteflies have

By abenner

Greetings!
Whiteflies have infested my indoor tomato garden! I live in the Great Lakes region, it's November and the room is at a constant temperature. Will the insecticidal soap work as efficiently indoors or will I need more drastic measures?

If you can them early enough,

By Almanac Staff

If you can them early enough, you can use the insecticidal soap. Other solutions are:
Apply neem oil.
Set out yellow sticky traps.
Use a handheld vacuum to eliminate whiteflies by hand.

How often should you spray

By Frances McQuinn

How often should you spray the soap solution and when is the best time of day Ito spray your plants.

Spray on a cool, cloudy

By Almanac Staff

Spray on a cool, cloudy morning or spray in the cool evening. You can spray often as it's not a toxic solution. Spray on all sides of leaves, especially undersides. Whiteflies can be challenging so you might spray every couple days.

I live in south Florida and 2

By rlienhardt

I live in south Florida and 2 of my neighbors had their yards treated for white fly. This morning I noticed a different neighbor's banyan tree is dropping moldy leaves all over my yard. It appears to be affecting my coco plums and gardenia for now. Does white fly invade and suck the life out of everything? Are there plants they don't like? Worried my efforts to save my plants will not be in vain...

Several species of white

By Almanac Staff

Several species of white flies do significantly infest ornamentals in Florida--gardenias, coconut palms, and others being more common hosts, but many other ornamentals are affected. We'd recommend that you or your neighbor check if the banyan tree is indeed having a white fly problem or some other cultural, pest, or disease problem. If white fly, then there are several biological and chemical controls to use, depending on the species. It would be best if one could take a sample to your local Cooperative Extension or garden center, or have an arborist/landscape professional take a look, so that the proper controls could be recommended.

 

In general, white fly larvae and adults feed on the undersides of the leaves, sucking sap. This may leave spots on the top sides of leaves; the leaves may eventually yellow and fall off. The honeydew that the insects excrete can lead to sooty mold.

For more information, see:

 

http://www.edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg254

 

http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/stocks/white_website/filmstrip.html

 

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/whiteflies-hit-palm-beach-county-...

my tomato crop grown outdoors

By wesley chesaro

my tomato crop grown outdoors is heavily infested with whiteflies. i have several methods of including the one you have given above but i was successful. anything new to try

I think I have an infestation

By Michelle888

I think I have an infestation of whiteflies on my rose of Sharon tree. These don't have yellow bodies but white. There is a distinct white bullseye kind if design on the undersides of the leaves. Also, clumps of a silk like substance is everywhere. I used your solution which seemed to kill the flying members. I don't see any larvae. Do you know what I have in my tree based on this description?

The circular spots on the

By Almanac Staff

The circular spots on the leaves can be caused by a leaf spot fungi. Remove as much of the "silk" as you can and also check for spider mites.

The math solution to make the

By Venusian

The math solution to make the solution
5 parts water + 2 parts rubbing alcohol = 7 parts
32 oz / 7 = 4.57 oz
4.57 = 0ne part
2 X 4.57 = 9.17 (call it 9 oz)
5 X 4.57 = 22.85 (call it 23 oz)
23 oz water+ 9 oz rubbing alcohol
+ 1 tablespoon liquid soap = 32 oz solution

what % isopropyl alcohol?

By martin maughan on March 26

what % isopropyl alcohol? most of the time its 70% but is it safe to use the stronger 90%? thats only one I buy, it has more applications for its use.I have also seen 50% and 80%.

Yes, "rubbing alcohol" is the

By georgewilson on March 26

Yes, "rubbing alcohol" is the same--it's just the general term for isopropyl alcohol.

Thankyou georgewilson, I

By martin maughan on March 26

Thankyou georgewilson, I would like to know if the 90% rubbing alcohol is safe to use? the %of water is only 10%,,90 and most rubbing alcohol is 70%alcohol and 30%H2o.

Hi, after reading your

By Benjamin Woods

Hi, after reading your instructions on how to make the homemade mixture from the almanac, you don't indicate how much soap to alcohol/water mixture or are you saying it doesn't matter? Seems to me that it would matter, if the mixture is too diluted with water, the soap wont have much of an effect. I am loosing tomato plants and peppers to these little buggers and I would prefer to stay away from chemicals as much as possible.

Hi Benjamin, The instructions

By Almanac Staff

Hi Benjamin,
The instructions are above the comments on this page.
2 parts rubbing alcohol, 5 parts water, and 1 tablespoon liquid soap. Spray the mixture on the foliage of garden plants that are susceptible to these pests.

I need to make this for my

By martin maughan on March 26

I need to make this for my garden plants asap, but I only have 90% isopropyl alcohol.Is it safe to use this stronger % rubbing alcohol?

What is the volume of

By LM

What is the volume of 'part'?

2 tsp alcohol + 5 tsp water + 1 tbs soap?
2 cups alcohol + 5 cups water + 1 tbs soap?
Lake Erie + Lake Superior + 1 tbs soap?

These instructions are for a

By Almanac Staff

These instructions are for a regular-size 32 ounce spray bottle. We will fix above.

HI Good Morning, I tried

By Ren Tutor

HI Good Morning,

I tried mixture of chemicals in my garden infested with whiteflies but until this time nothing had happened. What should I do to control this pest?

Ren, our solutions are listed

By Almanac Staff

Ren, our solutions are listed above on this page. They are non-chemical.

how can I control my tomatoes

By yaw boateng sarpong

how can I control my tomatoes leaves which are turning yellowish and dying.

Yellowing leaves is often an

By Almanac Staff

Yellowing leaves is often an indicator of early blight on your tomatoes. Avoiding getting leaves wet when watering.  Make sure the tomatoes have plenty of air circulation. For the most effective control, especially during rainy periods, apply a fungicide, taking care to get good coverage on the upper and lower leaf surfaces, especially on older leaves.

Will the spray work on the

By Cheryl Haselwood

Will the spray work on the lawn too?

Yes, insecticidal soaps can

By Almanac Staff

Yes, insecticidal soaps can be used on lawns. Natural predators such as lady beetles are also a good idea.

I have whiteflies on my

By Becky Dressing

I have whiteflies on my hostas. I also have quite a few praying mantis in my garden. Can I get rid of the flies safely and not hurt the praying mantis?

The solutions proposed above

By Almanac Staff

The solutions proposed above are pretty consistently recommended:
Spray with insecticidal soap. Follow up twice or three times.
Introduce ladybugs and spiders to help control whitefly population.
Set whitefly traps.
Or try this: 2 parts rubbing alcohol, 5 parts water, and 1 tablespoon liquid soap. Spray the mixture on the foliage of garden plants that are susceptible to these pests.
The mantis will probably be fine. Do not apply these treatments directly on it.

My condo parking lot is

By CiCi

My condo parking lot is infested with whiteflies. They leave nasty black residue all over my car. This needs to be scrubbed off by hand, does not come off in the carwash that I go to. What can I use on my car to keep them off?

I have the same problem as

By sofia frank

I have the same problem as CiCi , my assigned parking at condominimum is under atree infewsted with whitefly,when my car stands there overnight its full of sticky residue and brown spots,i complained several times to the board, to no avail, they said they treated the tree. i am afraid the paint will evenually be ruined, they dont care its been 2 years. anybody knowws where do I complaine ? I am very frastrated , my car has to be detailed every time. Should I complain to the board of condominimums ? Will that help ?

It sounds like a case of the

By Almanac Staff

It sounds like a case of the rugose spiraling whitefly. While we have no recommendations for how to keep droppings from sticking to your car, we can offer a solution to make clean-up a little easier. Try scrubbing the spots with a cotton rag dipped in either baby oil or vegetable oil. Rinse your car after.

Will the whitefly population

By William Caldwell

Will the whitefly population eventually dissipate later in the spring or early summer season?

With whiteflies, it all

By Almanac Staff

With whiteflies, it all depends on where you live. They love warm weather and will breed more rapidly at the peak of summer. In parts of California and the South, they breed all year, moving from one host to another as plants are harvested or dry up. Only cold weather kills them off. Therefore, it's often best to plant early in the spring to get the plants to full maturity before white fly populations grow. They are sluggish in cold temperatures.

How do I get rid of

By draucker

How do I get rid of whiteflies? I have tried the insecticidal soap, spraying with strong spray from garden hose, and Seven dust and nothing works. They started on my 7 tropical hybiscus plants but are now on the other side of the yard all over my tomatoes and beets etc. Help!

There are are different

By Almanac Staff

There are are different stages of whiteflies on your plant. You have to repeat the treatment on a regular basis until they are gone.
Try neem oil. Most garden centers carry it. Spray the soil also, that's where the whiteflies lay their eggs.
They are attreacted to yellow. Cover a few yellow plastic cups with motor oil and put them out in the garden to trap the flies.

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