How to Identify and Get Rid of Whiteflies


Whiteflies and their small, oval nymphs reside on the undersides of leaves and cause the leaves to become sticky with honeydew.

The Ohio State University


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Here are tips on how to identify, control, and get rid of whiteflies.

What are Whiteflies?

What are those little white flying bugs on your plants?

Whiteflies, also known as aleyrodidae, are soft-bodied, winged insects closely related to aphids and mealybugs. 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, somewhat triangular in shape, 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 overwintering and reproducing throughout the year in warmer climates.

One common species of whitefly is the silverleaf whitefly, which is slightly smaller and more yellow than other whiteflies. Silverleaf whiteflies are especially common in southeastern states. All species of whiteflies affect a wide variety of plants.

You’ll often see whiteflies in mid- to late-summer when it gets warm; they are also a common pest in greenhouses.

Whiteflies tend to suck on ornamentals and warm-weather vegetable plants, including tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and okra. They also like sweet potatoes and plants from the cabbage family.


How to Identify Whiteflies on Plants

Whiteflies suck 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.

Due to whitefly feeding, plants will quickly become extremely weak and may be unable to carry out photosynthesis. Leaves will wilt, turn pale or yellow, and growth will be stunted. 

Honeydew is a sign that the whiteflies have been feeding for several days. You might also see ants, which are attracted to the honeydew. 

Check undersides of leaves around the veins for white insects, even if they aren’t visible, and feel leaf surfaces for honeydew. If the whiteflies are feeding, they’ll suddenly all fly off the leaves in a swarm, so it’s very obvious.

You may also find eggs laid on the undersides of leaves. This is the beginning of a new generation! When the eggs hatch, the larvae will look like teeny white ovals without legs; they don’t move but they immediately start sucking the plant juice. This is why gardeners miss the whiteflies until it’s too late. Adult females can produce up to 400 eggs, which can hatch in between one week and a month. They are usually laid in a circular pattern. Eggs are pale yellow when newly laid and brown when about to hatch.

Photo Credit: University of Florida. Whiteflies congregate on the undersides of leaves and lay their tiny white eggs in this secure spot.

Control and Prevention

How to Get Rid of Whiteflies

To control whiteflies, there are various solutions and traps that you can use. The biggest tip is: start early!  In the mornings and evenings, as you wander the garden, check the back of the leaves for eggs or notice when little bugs “fly away” as you approach your plants.

  • Always start with blasting whiteflies (and aphids and many insects) with your watering hose. This will cause them to scatter. Then, spray your leaves with insecticidal soap. Coat them; be sure to spray the undersides of leaves.Only spray plants when temperatures are cooler—such as late in the day, as heat may cause an adverse reaction in your plant. Follow up 2 or 3 times. 
  • According to the National Gardening Association, this homemade mixture should be helpful to control and deter whiteflies: Use a mixture of dishwashing liquid, such as Palmolive with lemon, and water. A good squirt of soap to a gallon of water should work. As mentioned above, only spray in cooler temperatures; early in the morning or late in the day is best. The NGA mixture is a pretty benign combination, and whiteflies are nearly impossible to get rid of, so it’s best to try more preventative tactics, as mentioned below.
  • If all else fails and your whitefly population is persistent, you can use a handheld vacuum every few days to remove them from your plants. This gets rid of both nymphs and larvae.

How to Prevent Whiteflies

  • Keeping natural predators around will prevent whiteflies from ever exploding in population. Ladybugs, spiders, lacewing larvae, and dragonflies are a few of many beneficial insects that can control a whitefly population. Hummingbirds are another natural predator. Try creating a habitat that will attract dragonflies and damselflies (which also helpfully eat mosquitoes) or beautiful hummingbirds.
  • When it comes to whiteflies, avoid chemical insecticides; they’re usually resistant and all you end up doing is killing the beneficial insects—their natural predators—and the insects which pollinate the garden for a better harvest!
  • Mulch early in the season with aluminum reflective mulch, especially when it comes to tomatoes and peppers. The reflective mulch makes it challenging for whiteflies to find their host plants. 
  • Set out yellow index cards coated with petroleum jelly to monitor whiteflies, especially when it comes to tomatoes, peppers, sweet potatoes, or cabbage crops. A half-and-half mixture of petroleum jelly and dishwashing detergent, spread over small boards painted bright yellow, is sticky enough to catch little whiteflies, too. To whiteflies, the color yellow looks like a mass of new foliage. The bugs are attracted to the cards, get stuck in the jelly, and die.

Reader Comments

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White fly control

This article states that you should "Mulch early in the season with aluminum reflective mulch".

Aluminum should never come in contact with our food, or the soil that it grows in. Repeat after me - Alzheimers.


The environmental concern, when it comes to aluminum, is in the process of making aluminum products. That is harmful to the environment. However, aluminum reflective mulch is not shown to be harmful when used in vegetable gardens. The aluminum would have to be buried in the soil and left for years before a noticeable amount would appear. However, if you are concerned, reflective mulches do not contain aluminum, so we could suggest that as an alternative.

My Permanent Whitefly Solution (Try at your own risk)

Here in South Florida we have a big problem with these whiteflies. I really enjoy growing exotic peppers in my back yard. After trying about everything out there and failing miserably several times, a friend of mine that also grows peppers introduced me to a product made by Ortho called "Rose & Flower" Insect & Disease Control Concentrate, which I bought at Home Depot. Active ingredients are Acetamiprid...0.26% and Triticonazole...0.78%. For many years I have gone for the "Organic" approach but always lost the battle to the whiteflies so I almost have given up on growing peppers. Because of my job, and having to work long hours, I really don't have the time to care for and treat my plants on a daily basis, just barely on the weekends. I understand this product is not labeled for fruits and vegetables and that I (or you) should not be using it on peppers, but I will tell you this folks, this product literally brought all my pepper plants back from the dead and I have not seen the whiteflies in over 3 months after the first treatment. All my plants are looking healthier every day and they are now bearing fruit like crazy. For me, this has been a God send. In the past I did use several pyrethrum based products but noticed that chemical taste in the peppers so I stopped using them. With this product I have not noticed any chemical taste. I believe there has to be some systemic absorption here in order for the product to be effective for so long. I am by far no expert in this matter, so I wanted to ask the advice of any knowledgeable person in this forum regarding this product. I've downloaded the MSDS sheets from their website but can't say I saw anything of extreme concern....but once again I could be wrong, so I humbly ask from anyone to please enlighten me on this matter. Thanks.

exotic pepper disease control

Wow— Well, you already know more about it than we do. We researched several “.edu” web sites and can find nothing re safety or the like. Perhaps someone reading can shed light on the matter … ? Sorry, Max—


There may be a few health risks associated with the triticonazole: (edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pi105)
In short, mice studies show increased liver cancer, and related chemicals correlate with adrenal, thyroid, kidney, and testicular effects in animal studies.

Infected Plants

You do not need to treat your home–they can not survive in a home setting without a host plant.


I had a couple house plants with either or mealybuys (not exactly sure which) - I tossed them. Do I need to treat my home too ? Or will they go away with the plants gone ?



That was supposed to say it was either whiteflies or mealybugs

I have white flies all over

I have white flies all over my yard. I see them in swarms flying over my lawn, and they are stuck in the screen of my screened porch - which is on the second story. I don't see much damage to my plants. How can I control or get rid of them. Are they attracted to lawn fertilizers?

Hi, Darlene, You may be right

Hi, Darlene, You may be right about the fertilizer. Excess nitrogen, such as in “quick” fertilizers, over–stimulates foliage/plant growth causes aphids to reproduce more quickly. Use slow-release and/or organic fertilizers. 


I live in UK in a council property, surrounding my garden is a dense ivy/bramble hedge which is rarely maintained on the other side of my garden. The problem is Whitefly which seems to have infested the hedge. My nurtured garden plants are attacked each year by them. Leaving all of them a little sad and struggling. The hedge is about 100 feet long. What would you suggest which wouldn't kill beneficial insects but could be used on such a vast hedgerow?


I,too, had a huge infestation of whiteflies on my State Fair Zinnias this year. My concern is: Will they winter over in the soil and will I have them again next year? If so, what can I put on my soil NOW to kill them???


Whitefly does not overwinter in the soil so putting anything down now will not be effective. The best strategy is to prevent a breakout by not planting species prone to attract them. Remove all plants that have served as a host and find alternatives. Come spring, be vigilant about removing any foliage that does become infected; hose down plants with water sprays (whitefly likes dusty conditions). Laying down a reflective mulch of silver polyethylene can help to reduce populations, as can yellow sticky traps and insecticidal soaps or oils. The main thing is to get ahead of those pesky flies–once they arrive, they are very tough to get rid of!

Whiteflies invading my city

Hi! I've been having problems with these plague for a some weeks, attacking my cantaloupes at first then passing to my others plants and couldn't get ride of them, then, one morning I saw them flying all over my backyard and it is pretty unsettling, I started to grow some plants from seed inside my house, tomatoes as an example, I was hoping to transplant them because they need more soil, but now I'm scared and it seems that they are all over the city where I live, I had seen them flying everywhere. Is this going to be temporary or should I get give up on my dream of get a vegetal garden?

All Is Not Lost!

Hi, Alejandra: So sorry to hear about your challenges! Fortunately, many insect infestations run in cycles, so perhaps next year will not be so bad. In any event, please see the Reply to the question immediately below this for a formula to help deter whiteflies. Keep trying, and good luck!


do NOT use this homemade recipe - it killed my plants!

I trusted Farmer's Almanac to offer sound and safe gardening advice. I followed the homemade recipe for white flies and it has completely burnt my plants! I am sick about it! All my hard work, time, and money is probably out the window :( !! My plants are either shriveled like they're burned, or have dropped all their leaves. Being that it is just past mid-July, I doubt they will recover at all. I am so very disappointed that this recipe was posted on Farmer's Almanac (FYI - I followed the recipe to a T, and sprayed in the a.m. and the leaves had time to dry before the sun was on them). DO NOT use the homemade recipe - you will kill you're plants!

Whitefly Spray Recipe

I am sorry to hear your plants are flagging–that is an upsetting situation. I am not sure which recipe you used (we have a few on offer), but the National Gardening Association recommends a mixture of dishwashing liquid, such as Palmolive with lemon, and water–a sizeable squirt of soap to a gallon of water. The thing about any spray application is that timing is key. It needs to be done when the insect is at its most vulnerable stage—usually as larvae. The truth is, whitefly is nearly impossible to get rid of. It is a matter of preventative measures and population control, which this recipe should help with. The best method of control is beneficial insects. I realize this doesn’t help you at this point, but maybe it will of use at a later date (though I hope you will not have to deal with whitefly again!) Consider replacing your plants with non-host species. Again, very sorry to hear about your struggle.




That's a bummer, but I'll tell ya. By the time you get to dealing with whiteflies, it's too late. The plants get sucked dry--literally dry up. That's what whiteflies do. It's almost impossible to get rid of them once they get going. You gotta start real early.

Remove damaged leaves?

Hi, I have an infestation on my squash and I'm wondering if I should cut off the damaged leaves. I have ordered some ladybugs to help as well. Should I cut off droopy, yellowing, or white-splotched leaves? Thanks

Squash Leaves

Hui Jennifer,

If the damage is so great that the leave couldn’t possibly be photosynthesizing, then sure go ahead and remove them. If they are only mildly munched, just let them be. Good for you for choosing to bring in some beneficials!

white fly

Thanks for the tips. Can neem oil also work on this fly? I practices organic farming and don't want to use any chemicals on my farm. Thank you.

Yes, neem oil works well on

Yes, neem oil works well on whiteflies. Great idea!

White flies

Love your tips, but they're not much help to me.
I have two big citrus trees, thick with leaves and fruit, and I can't see killing enough white flies with insecticidal soap to quell a huge infestation. Got an alternative?

White flies in my house.

How can i get rid of them?

White flies usually start

White flies usually start with houseplants. They are hard to eliminate. It’s best to isolate any plant to avoid having all the plants infested. Remove by hand any leaves that are heavily infested with whiteflies. The best solution is preventative. Check houseplants carefully before you bring them inside your house, especially the undersides of leaves which can be sponged and cleaned.

White fly homemade solution okay for lady bugs?

I have lots of lady bugs working hard to get rid of the white flies but I was wondering if the homemade spray that you are recommending is okay with lady bugs around.

alcohol spray and lady bugs

I’m not sure. I’m finding that soap may be OK overall for the adult form but maybe not for the softer-bodied larvae. I can find nothing about the effect of the rubbing alcohol on lady bugs. (Also, as with any alcohol spray, test a little area first to check for plant sensitivity, and do not apply in direct sunlight.) It might be safest to just let the lady bugs continue their task, since you have a good collection of workers!

White fly on flower plants

I applied the alcohol, water and liquid soap mix which gave good result. No more white flies and I am applying spray periodically on the stems.

whitefly infestation on large gardenia bush

hi; I have a very large gardenia. Last year, I was advised to use a fungicide which I mixed with water and poured into the ground around the bush rather than attempting to spray the this very large shrub/bush. I am not able to find a similar product this year - all the products are for spraying. Any suggestions?


Well, the first thought we have is to inquire of the source you had a year ago. The National Gardening Association has this advice: Whitefly is one of gardenings most difficult pests to control. The little fly-like insects with white wings hang out on the undersides of leaves where they multiply rapidly in warm weather. Whiteflies damage leaves and suck sap from the plant; if the infestation is severe, this can lead to death in young plants and decline in older ones. Persistence is the key to control. I have had good luck controlling these pests by spraying them with a mixture of dishwashing liquid, such as Palmolive with lemon, and water. A good squirt of soap to a gallon of water should do the trick. Place the mixture in spray bottle and spray leaves, both sides well, at least twice a week when the flies are active. You may need to continue this treatment for many weeks. Spray on an overcast day, in the very early morning or late afternoon to avoid damage from the sun. Also worth a try: Yellow sticky tape placed near plants – Yellow colored traps that attract insects with their color and snare them with a sticky substance. Release Encarsia Formosa, a tiny parasitic wasp which will eat them. Available from some nurseries and seed companies. Pyrethrin spray – an organic pesticide made from chrysanthemums. Encourage Hummingbirds. They love to dine on whiteflies. Hang feeders and keep them clean and full of simple syrup (a mixture made from 1 part sugar dissolved in 4 parts hot water). Plant flowers they adore, those with tubular flowers such as fuchsia, foxglove, salvias, bee balm. Good luck!

soleirolia soleirolii whitefly attack

My soleirolia has hundreds of whitefly. I was wondering how to spray it,since there are so many leaves on it? Can I just shower it?

whitefly infestation

Angela, such a delicate plant … If there are many bugs as you suggest, there may be no saviing it. Showering it will probably not help. It’s a Mediterranean/rock garden plant outdoors, and an annual typically in cold winter areas. It may have become too wet.


How can I kill whitefly in the house, not in the garden. I have been found to have whitefly in my home. How do I kill them. I have a tropical fish tank in the house and some insecticides I cannot use because of this.

controlling whiteflies

You might try setting up yellow sticky traps (found in garden centers), away from children or pets. These are usually used more for monitoring than control, but in an indoor environment, including a greenhouse, it can be more effective to control the adults, which are attracted to the color and get stuck. Also, if you have any houseplants that are infested with whiteflies, be sure to check the leaves regularly, and remove any older leaves that are severely infested with the larvae and pupae. Look for tiny oval eggs on leaf undersides. Wingless nymphs look sort of like pale scale insects, flattened and oval, and do not move after the first instar. Keep handpicking and controlling with the traps, and you might be able to overcome a mild infestation. Make sure that the insects are not easily coming in from the outside, or coming in on infected plants taken in from outdoors.

White Flies in the Entire Yard

I see all the comments regarding the helpful hints of getting rid of white flies on plants. How can I get completely get rid of what seems like thousands, around my entire 1/4 acre yard? Thanks for any assistance.

I sprayed my plants with a

I sprayed my plants with a soap solution (Late in the Evening); however, the plants were stressed after the spray. They eventually die. I've experimented with neem Oil and soap solution, and the side affect are always detrimental in my case.

I have them all over my

I have them all over my persimmon tree. what can I use to get rid of them? Something safe to use and of course homemade remedy. How much and how often to take care of the problem?Someone told me to whitewash (limewash) with a mixture of lime and water but I'm a little scared to try this.

Hi, Tracy: You can find all

Hi, Tracy: You can find all kinds of recipes for homemade whitefly sprays (see below, for example), but all involve some sort of soap to basically dry out the flies. Try slowly stirring together a mixture of 3 quarts water, 1 tablespoon dishwashing soap (not detergent, not antibacterial), and 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar, and spraying. If this doesn't seem to have had any effect after 3 days, repeat, but with 2 quarts of water, not 3. Good luck!

I sprayed once for whitefly

I sprayed once for whitefly on my small palm, and I wanted to replace some small plants near it. Would it be okay to spray the palm with insecticide with new plants under it?

Instead of using an

Instead of using an insecticide try a homemade soap spray.
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 the plant.

How often can you spray the

How often can you spray the homemade remedy? Is there an amount that is too much? The have really infested one hanging plant out front. I doused it with water spray then did the home remedy after. How often should I spray it?

Try spraying the solution

Try spraying the solution three days in a row. Check to see if the infestation has cleared up. If not, spray again. Make sure you coat as much of the plant as possible with the solution including underneath the leaves.

2 parts rubbing alcohol, 5

2 parts rubbing alcohol, 5 parts water and 2 tablespoons of liquid detergent.
My question is what size are the "parts"referring to?

"Part" can be any

"Part" can be any measurement. So it will depend on how much solution you want to make. For example, you could mix 2 cups alcohol with 5 cups water, then add 2 tablespoons detergent.

A "part" refers to 4 ounces

A "part" refers to 4 ounces

I'm just noticing whiteflies

I'm just noticing whiteflies on some of my indoor plants. They are food plants, however, and I do not want to use poisons on them! 2 of the plants are cat nip and cat grass (also green onions, parsley and oregano are near by)... it is still too cold in NJ to plant these outside and the nip and grass stay inside year round for my cat. How can I eliminate the flies and yet have the plants remain safe for people and my cat to consume?! If the sticky traps only get the adults, won't I be stuck in an endless cycle?

Whiteflies love warm weather

Whiteflies love warm weather so putting the plants outside will not get rid of them. If you don't want to use sprays on your plants, some people recommend vaccuuming off whiteflies. (Put the bag in the freezer to kill them!)

Hi I have lots of white fly

I have lots of white fly on a ficus plant on my balcony. We live in the UAE and insecticide is not available.
There's a web like film around new shoots and what looks like a wood louse ( is this a nest of some sort?)
Another plant which I had (gardenia) had spider mites and I had to sadly throw it away as my treatment of soapy dishwater in a spray bottle didn't work!
Please help

I believe you have what is

I believe you have what is called "wooly aphids". Apparently they secrete the webby stuff... I have it bad on my rose bush, which sadly seems unsavable, and a little on my strawberries. I went out with a flashlight and smushed them all then spayed with the soap solution. My fingers are crossed.

i had some kind of bug(s)

i had some kind of bug(s) creating a web like mass all over my potted impatience plant on the porch, I placed it under a tree in front of the porch, let the rain wash it off, that plant has sprung back to its old self and looks great. It is full of blooms, so I left it there. Living in Central FL does pose it's problems with pests.

White fly problem

White fly problem

I was wondering if the

I was wondering if the soap,water.and alcohol mixture can be applied to all vegetable plants or will it kill some

Hi, Mary, The mixture advised

Hi, Mary,
The mixture advised above has been recommended for years, here and elsewhere, primarily on houseplants and ornamenals outdoors. (Note that the alcohol is the "rubbing" variety.) Excessive amounts of detergent/soap may damage plants, especially buds. Alcohol should not be mixed with oil and never used near fire. And, like a lot of things, too much can be a bad thing: excess alcohol can burn, or chill, leaves.
For vegetables, we can suggest that you get a Pyrethrum from a garden supplly store. It is organic and, mixed with water, is safe—and very effective—on veg plants.

Thanks for the Info on White

Thanks for the Info on White flies am going to try. I have 2 big Hibiscus in my bath tub waiting for Spring. My Bathroom is Infested with these evil LIL Buggers.. My Hubby is Fed up with them. LOL

Hi Just read all of your

Just read all of your articles and decided to do something about my white fly infestation.
Got a shallow dish added chilly power, dish washing liquid and frothed it up with luc warm water.
Then bathed each tomato branch in the shallow tray.

Now there are hardly any white fly and in the substance after bathing the leaves and branch i had 10 green caterpillars.
Now i just hope this does not affect the plant or fruit.
cheers shaun
Melbourne australia

I don't have any rubbing

I don't have any rubbing alcohol at the mo - could I use brandy??


I have been reading here

I have been reading here several articles and advices about white flies and what can be done to get rid of them. I have one small plant that came from a seed of a tomato and is growing nicely, But i noticed a few days ago that on the bottom side of the leaves were already white flies. I have wiped them off with my hand. But i have to check daily if they don't come back.
I have always learnt that u must avoid water on the leaves of tomatos because the plants will be infected. And you also give that advice to one person here. But on the other hand u advice to spray cold water on the bottom of the leaves because that will keep the white flies away or kill them. Is this not a contradiction???

It's true that it's best to

It's true that it's best to water tomatoes directly into the soil and to avoid getting water on top of the leaves. But, to get rid of white flies you need to spray the undersides of the leaves with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. Repeat the application every three days until no more whiteflies are present.

This is the first year I've

This is the first year I've ever had white flies it was terrible. If the winter kills them off is there any chance that they will come back next year? Any eggs left in the soil? Any thing I should do to my soil before planting in the spring?

Unfortunately, white flies

Unfortunately, white flies can withstand very cold temperatures. All of these applications are deadly to the white fly: insecticidal soap, neem oil, horticultural oil, permethrin, bifenthrin and lambda-cyhalothrin. The key is persistance. Get the insecticide in contact with the insect. It is critical to direct your spray upwards under the leaves.

I have noticed that my mint

I have noticed that my mint is covered with the white fly. Help please

I live in a apartment complex

I live in a apartment complex which has tons of pigeons, my green beans were doing great at the beginning of the year and produced some green beans, then the white flies set in. I used organic insecticide which seemed to work for a couple of day, but the little buggers killed my plants! I am starting all over again with new seeds, does anyone one know if the pigeons have anything to do with spider mites?

For whiteflies, you might try

For whiteflies, you might try placing yellow sticky traps around your garden--this will catch adults (as well as any other insect, good or bad, attracted to the yellow). Check under the leaves for infestations, and remove heavily infested leaves.
As to pigeons, we don't know of any relationship with spider mites. They do sometimes get mites that attack birds, such as pigeon mites, but these, to our knowledge, do not affect plants. Certain bird mites might also attack humans, though, (usually for a short time) if they can't find a bird.

My whiteflys are pestering

My whiteflys are pestering me! Later I tried fly catching tape and It worked really well.☺️Thanks for the tip and also pigeons sometimes pester white flies so they go away. Quite a
Lucky place to live in!

Wendy lea

Wendy lea

I am having a big problem

I am having a big problem with these tiny white flys on my hibiscus tree so i made a homemade mixture of alcohol water and dish soap sprayed the plant it seemed to help and now i have a HUGE problem with the big black flys being on it and they have just completely taken over the plant. is there anything i cant do to get rid of these now im here in michigan and the weather is starting to get chilly and soon i will be bringing my tree in the house and i dont want to carry any of these pests in with it. PLZ help :) thank you

Pigeons don't carry spider

Pigeons don't carry spider mites nor do wild pigeons carry mites (they usually attack domestic pigeons) the pigeons won't do harm to any crop either unless they find a seed source to feed on. i also have whiteflies on my plant (holy basil) and i find that they are in clusters almost all the time. I used an insecticidal soap but they came right back. i used a mix of orange oil and neem oil and that worked perfectly. Now that the flies are back, and its cold out so i can't take the plant outside(tropical, frost intolerant) so do you have any good working method to take them of the plant?

White flies - dreadful

White flies - dreadful things! I have millions of them, mostly low on the ground, and when I do the weeding, they fly off the plants like clouds. It is an English garden with lots of phlox in different colours. I have tried your mixture, but there does not seem to be any improvement. I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. These pests also cling onto the house screens, and even come into the house! Should I increase the rubbing alcohol amount please? Thank you, Elizabeth

Hi, Elizabeth, that does

Hi, Elizabeth, that does sound dreadful! You can try more alcohol; it's a fairly inexpensive option and, it seems, can't make things worse.
White flies develop in warm weather, some say high-nitrogen fertilizers encourages them, but not matter what brings them, management is difficult. Natural enemies—beneficial bugs such as lacewings, bigeyed bugs, minute pirate bugs, and lady bugs among them—are one of the best ways to avoid and eliminate WFs. Healthy soil conditions and a variety of plants helps to welcome and keep these.
You do not want to use pesticides (sounds like you do not) because these could eliminate good bugs, too.
Believe it or not, some people recommend vaccuuming off WFs in the early AM or when it's cool. (Put the bag in the freezer to kill them!) Some people use "sticky traps" to catch them. The more WFs, the more stickies you need, and keep them out of direct sun. Even reflective aluminium and reflective plastic placed on the ground can deter them. (In heat, reflecting mulches can also cause too much heat and burn plants, too, though.)
It is advisable to remove seriouslyinfected/fested plants.
Winter should bring and end to the WFs...but then, to the flowers, too. At that time, study up on benficial bugs and the plants that attract them—and be ready for a glorious next season.
Best—Almanac editors

white flies

I just vacuumed my palm plant out of sheer desperation, and it worked! for now anyway.....

thank you for all the

thank you for all the remedies for white fly. i have zillions of them in my yard. i live in a trailer park and the homes are pretty close together. the ones on either side of mine are empty for the summer, so i get all the white flies from their yards too. the flies are killing everything in site. if i spray everyday, will i, hopefully get rid of some of the damage? help!!!!!!

You can try some of the tips

You can try some of the tips suggested here and see if you can get rid of some. The best strategy is to prevent problems from developing in your garden. Import natural enemies to provide adequate control of whiteflies. Remove plants that host high populations of whiteflies. Whiteflies in early stages of development can be controlled by removing infested leaves, vacuuming plants, or spraying with water.

i just to have millions of

i just to have millions of white flies in my yard, until these medium side black ants appear, those ants feed in the white scally eggs of flies before they hash, the flies are banished from my yard, and the ants are in the trees out there.

I am from Malaysia. I

I am from Malaysia. I suffered for a long time from this whitefly attack on trees in my home garden. Tried many things. After about 10 years got the solution.

It is nothing but water.

Wash the underside of infected (and to be infected) leaves with a jet of water (finger pressed garden hose is quite sufficient). You have to do it for few days and you will find the whitefly density thins down. After sometimes they leave your garden. But you have to continue the treatment once in a while. It is very cheap and very safe. The only requirement is your persistent application of water.

I have a very large

I have a very large Confederate Rose (hibiscus family)that is totally infested with whiteflies. It's August in New Orleans and they are thriving! I have ladybugs but, apparently, not enough to keep up with the whiteflies. My question - will the alcohol/water/liquid soap mixture harm the ladybugs too? I hate to lose them but have to do something drastic to rid my garden of the pests.

Hi Sherry, The soap spray

Hi Sherry,
The soap spray will only kill soft-bodied pests like the whiteflies. You can also try to vaccuum the flies off the rose (early in the morning or late evening when they are sluggish) or hang sticky traps around the bush.

I had a big infestation of

I had a big infestation of white flies last summer on my hibiscus. The plant was almost six feet tall. I have fought these bugs unsuccessfully in other gardens before, so I did a radical thing. I gave the bush a severe pruning, reducing it's height by a third, removing some branches, AND pulling off all the leaves. Took away the white fly food source. I raked up the debris under the bush as well. Then, for good measure, I sprayed the naked branches once with a commercial insecticide.The plant looked pretty sad when I was done, but it revived in a few months, and it looks beautiful now. No white flies!

I live near a lake have

I live near a lake have gardenias but no sign on leaves of white flies nor do I have a garden. When u walk in the yard swarms of little white bugs come up. They don't bite but r very annoying. They r everywhere. We have sprayed for mosquitos and rarely get bit so we know it isn't mosquitos. They r attracted to light because at night somehow they get in swarm to the ceiling closest to the light. We have our bug guy spray all around our home and our house but nothing works any suggestions.

Hi, I am just wondering...I

Hi, I am just wondering...I have aphids and whitefly on my climbing roses. If I introduce lady bugs, how do I get them to stay on the plant? Won't they fly away? Thx

If conditions are favorable,

If conditions are favorable, the ladybugs will stick around. It sounds like they will have plenty of food!

Help! 2014 It's the end of

Help! 2014 It's the end of June. I have severe white flies everywhere this year swarms even. Why? I usually have them a bit in the spring. I can get them under control with insecticidal soap. This year, no way. What else can I do? Is there a beneficial nematode I should use?

Whiteflies, apparently, are

Whiteflies, apparently, are active year round (depending on the climate) and there are hundreds of types—and types for specific plants—but, thankfully, only a few that bother our plants. But, of course, when those few types multiply, look out!
Nematodes are not the solution (as far as we know). There are some natural enemies, but—it seems from our research—that these are effective against specific strains of whiteflies. For example, see here: http://biocontrol.ucr.edu/bemi... It relates to greenhouse whiteflies/plants, but you get the idea. To that point, however, it's possible that your whiteflies can in with/on your plants.
As noted above, ladybugs and spiders might help to control the population. Other than that, we recommend insecticidal soap or try the Epsom salt solution below from Tom. See other comments below for other ideas.

I wonder if the alcohol

I wonder if the alcohol treatment will kill the tomato horn Worms and im also wondering if the mulch will help stop the moths from laying larvae in the ground under My tomato plants..the other morning I went out to my garden and saw a moth Under my tomato plant, I killed it!!! today the tops of 3 of my tomato plants Are wilted over Some leaves are still green and curled over in the conners, the brown leaves are curled over I uncurled them and found little tiny caterpillars..Now i have a lot of work ahead of me picking at my 10 plants. I cant even believe im having this problem again this year after moving my garden to a different area in my yard..This is my 1st year dealing with white bugs and i have a feeling its wont be my last..

Re: Shelly L. (I wonder if

Re: Shelly L. (I wonder if alcohol)
I heard that if you take coffee grounds (Starbucks used to give it out freely) and put it around your tomatoe plants, mixing some into the soil, it would stop the tomatoe worm larvae from forming. Something about too much acid. Yeah! ~ Darcy

Sorry to tell you but the

Sorry to tell you but the white flies are back and everywhere, they've already started on my lilies, my blueberry plants, my house plants I took outside to get some Sun, my rose bush, and all the trees around my yard. i sprayed them last year with pure rubbing alchol 99 percent and 75 percent they died instantly. Those little bastards jump off the plant once they feel the spray, i watch where they jump and i squish them on the ground with my hand..i use gloves and when i dont i wash my hands when im done squishing the tiny white jumpers. The tomatoe worms i had the same problem as you did. I move my little garden away from the area where my old one was,. I planted 5 cherry tomatoes and 5 big boys, from the start of spring I had tomato worms, I gave up this year. I'm not planting anything, farmers market here I come. My son told me to try epson salt he said spray the leaves and the stems see what happens with the white flies they might not like the taste and move out..

I hope adding the alcohol to

I hope adding the alcohol to the mix helps I have a battle from last year continued thru the winter on my bonsai fikus tree, that was infected by a petunia in a hanging basket, thanks for the info, love it!

Re: chrysblue I also practice

Re: chrysblue
I also practice bonsai. Recently moved to another county and 2 months in I have a big whitefly and fungus gnat problem with many of them.
Last night I put a bucket of ladybugs out in amongst all my bonsai. But I am scared for them and want to spray with pesticide tonight,mwhich would kill the beneficial ladybugs I just introduced. Any advice?

Every time I have had

Every time I have had petunia's I have a problem with those white flies, this time they have attacked my bonsai ficus tree , not sure how to spell it but, I treated with just soapy water and they disappeared but came back 3 times now almost killing the tree, then it gets recovered and wham , they are back so I hope this time with the alcohol added it will work better, and I have lost one dill plant so far .

Excellent advice

Excellent advice

I am attempting something of

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

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

Whiteflies can be determined

Whiteflies can be determined with strong-smelling plants—and that may be how/why the strong aroma of incense is working. The marigolds should help, and nasturiums, too.
Another idea for deterining whiteflies is reflective mulch. Speaking of mulch,make sure that your plants have some. It can be store-boughht bag stuff or even newspaper. It will help the soil retain moisture, which your plants will want more and more of as the season progresses. Good luck, Martin!

Previously we have lived in

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Whitefly predators include

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

Info from another

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.

what can i do to my soil to

what can i do to my soil to keep the white flies away.

Aluminum mulch or reflective

Aluminum mulch or reflective mulch on the soil surface will discourage whiteflies and get plants off to a healthy start.

I been having whiteflies all

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

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:
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!

I am having the same problem

I am having the same problem with these white flies many sleep less nights, I also have had a peat control Co. come out, and they don't know how they are getting in so fast, I'm spending countless amount of money trying to get them under control! They are in my hair and grawl fly up my pant legs and I don't know what to do, they are white fly! At first I thought the dogs were bringing them in and I'm sure some are but not this many! could they becoming from my vents? or drains? and if so why and how do I get rid of them? I'm going crazy in SC!!

Hi Debra I live in South

Hi Debra
I live in South Jersey & have been researching for weeks now to try & identify what exactly is biting me occasionally & flying into me constantly! When I read ur comment about ur hair & flying up ur pant leg, I wanted to cry having finally heard that someone else is experiencing what I am. Terminex is due to come out to my home tomorrow for the .3rd time! They lost the samples I gave them. I'm STILL TRYING TO IDENTIFY them, but think this may be what they are. It's Nov & I've been dealing w/this for 2 months now. I truly cannot take much more. My husband doesn't believe me. Almost 0 comm about this now & at this point I don't think the Terminix people do either. I cannot do this anymore. All I do is Vaccuum, clean & try & find a solution to this issue. I'm starting to loose it & not feeling believed is unbearable. I'm a 45 yr old college graduate with a "normal" life. I'm reaching a point however of wishing this were just in my head so I could be diagnosed & move forward. Were u able to rid ur home of these pests? If so, Please let me know how. Best of luck to you!

if they are creepy crawlies

if they are creepy crawlies on you, use diatomaceous earch powder around the peripheries of your room, house, exterior windows (especially for those small enough to gt through the screen). Use home or garden grade, not pool grade. you can buy at lowes or many places.

I have been having the same

I have been having the same problem since May 2012 as you Freddy. I have seen the mature ones fly out of my car, I have knocked them out of my shoes, I have seen them fly out of my clothing, all on rare occasions. The immature ones bite and seen to move very, very, very fast. You may have to actually get rid of all of the belongings you cannot wash. Wash and use a hot dryer for whatever else you can. This was basically what I had to do and it only helped a bit. Are you the only one being affected? They may be attracted to something on our skin.... I really don't know all I know is they are a pain and I lose sleep sometimes because of them. I was thinking of maybe using a bedbug/ dust mite type cover on my mattress to see if it helps.
If you find another way to get rid of them by all means share the secret.

Stacy, do you notice them

Stacy, do you notice them more at certain times? These things start bothering me around 2PM until 5AM, that means I cannot relax or go to sleep until after 5! I am constantly sweeping and spraying from the time I wake up! I have to take a hot blow drier to get them out of my hair, and you are right the immature ones bite! there very tiny, I am disabled and fighting these things is very difficult to kill they just keep coming! If you have any helpful advise I would be so grateful! these things make me feel so dirty and I'm not! HELP WHAT IS THE ANSWER??

white flies

I know this sounds crazy, but for awhile I was staying in a public housing situation and it was infested with the bed bugs, What I finally ended up doing was putting 'foot-powder'[the kind at the 99cent stores, that has" Salicylic Acid "included in it. The bugs get this on their little feet, and it literally implodes them upon them trying to eat off the powder......it works. I put it around doorways ,on the mattress, all along the wall, and you can see the bugs are dead after ingesting it.........

Greetings! Whiteflies have

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,

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

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

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

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

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:

my tomato crop grown outdoors

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

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

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

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?

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

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

Thankyou georgewilson, I

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.

Thanks, very helpful. I'm

Thanks, very helpful. I'm going to try this as I will go broke buying the insecticidal soap!

Hi, after reading your

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

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.

What is the volume of

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

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

I'm not seeing the

I'm not seeing the explanation of what the volume in "parts" is. Can you put the explanation in your reply please it's not fixed above at stated, or I'm just not seeing it.

Never mind some one else has

Never mind some one else has answered it.

I need to make this for my

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?

HI Good Morning, I tried

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

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

how can I control my tomatoes

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

Yellowing leaves is often an

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

Will the spray work on the lawn too?

Yes, insecticidal soaps can

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

I have whiteflies on my

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

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

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?

It sounds like a case of the

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.

I have the same problem as

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 ?

Will the whitefly population

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

With whiteflies, it all

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

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

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.

I want to talk to the person

I want to talk to the person who said the flies were all over her screens. Me too! I have no plants anymore:( The best thing I read and did was to annoy them like the pigeons did. I hit the inside of the screens and kept doing it until they couldn't lite back on them and they haven't come back yet and it's been two hours! So far so good!

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