How do you get rid of whiteflies on indoor and outdoor plants? Here are some chemical and natural means to control these tiny white flying bugs in houses, gardens, and greenhouses.
Whiteflies are among plant pests which, if not addressed on time can cause significant damage. These pests hit harder when crops are involved.
Here, urgent insect control measures need to be taken to protect such crops from total damage.
The focus of our discussion will be on proffering far-reaching solutions that help eliminate them.
What Causes Whiteflies in Gardens and GreenHouse?
The excessive use of nitrogen-rich fertilizers resulting in an overgrowth of green, rich leaves, as well as drastic pruning which encourages succulent offshoots, are some conditions that predispose your plants to whitefly infestation.
Are They Dangerous to Humans? Do They Bite?
Although this species of bugs have piercing mouthparts for extracting plant juice, they are not known to bite humans.
Their danger arises from passing diseases to plants, which reduces the available supply of plants available for consumption due to quality issues, and the mass damage they cause to farms in some parts of the world.
How to Get Rid Of Little White Bugs on Plants
To get rid of whiteflies successfully, there must be proper identification of the problem. However, these insects are very small and can sometimes be so tiny that they can easily be camouflaged among plants.
The average size of whitefly is about one-twelfth of an inch.
Whitefly Extermination: The Need To Identify
One of the quickest ways to identify whiteflies is by taking a look at your plants.
Any unusual development such as wilting and discolored leaves, stunted and weak growth; are indicators. These then call for a closer look at the causes.
A comprehensive investigation should reveal all you need to know.
Whiteflies aren’t the only plant pests out there. That is the reason why you have to examine the plants, especially the undersides of leaves to identify what the problem is.
The appearance of honeydew is a strong indication of a whitefly presence. These (honeydew) in turn will attract other insects like ants.
Honeydew signals indicate that whiteflies have been around for some time. So, what should you be looking out for? Luckily, these pests move and feed in clusters. A close examination under the leaves (especially along the veins) should reveal these pests.
Don’t be in a hurry to pass when you can’t see anything. feeling the undersides with your fingers should make them fly off. By disrupting their feeding session, you can establish their presence and begin to apply appropriate treatment measures.
Why are whiteflies difficult to spot? The reasons are simple! These pests are pale and almost translucent. This makes it easy for them to blend into their environments. However, when disrupted during feeding, they fly away.
At this point, it’s much easy to see them.
The good thing with identifying these pests is that they aren’t nocturnal. That means they can easily be spotted during the day when they’re most active.
Do you keep seeing tiny white bugs in houseplant soil? Well, you are likely dealing with whiteflies.
Knowing the life cycle of whiteflies also helps in getting rid of them. Not only do these pests feed under the leaves of plants, but adult whiteflies also lay about 200 to 400 eggs under its covering. These are usually laid in definite patterns (in circular clusters). Upper plant leaves are targeted by whiteflies for laying their eggs.
It doesn’t take long until the eggs hatch. The hatching time ranges from 5 to 10 days max. Upon hatching, nymphs emerge. These are similar to small mealybugs. These crawlers won’t waste time to begin feeding.
However, they always move away from the hatching area to find a nice spot where thy latch onto leaves to feed.
Several stages of development are followed until nymphs develop into full adult whiteflies. From the time eggs are laid, it will take an average of 25 days under normal circumstances (such as room temperature) to reach adulthood.
The reproductive cycle starts again with adult nymphs laying clusters of eggs. The typical lifespan of whiteflies ranges from a month or two.
Whiteflies Home Remedies and Other Control Options
Having provided useful tips on whitefly identification in addition to information on their reproductive cycle, such information can be used to control their populations.
Getting rid of whiteflies can be done by using several methods. These will be listed and explained briefly under this section.
So what kills whiteflies on plants?
Use Yellow Sticky Traps
Yellow sticky traps are in the form of tapes that are placed at strategic locations to help trap whiteflies. This has been successful and continues to be an effective way to get rid of insect pests due to their attraction to the color yellow.
Now, not all insects are attracted.
However, aphids, thrips, fungus gnats and flies among which whiteflies fall under are attracted to yellow sticky tapes.
Apart from trapping and getting rid of these pests, it also helps with monitoring. As such, it also helps with preventing them from returning.
Use A Bug Blaster
If you wish to adopt a non-toxic approach to whiteflies’ control, then a bug blaster will prove useful. So, what’s a bug blaster? This is a simple equipment or hose attachment you can purchase to use in blasting off pests off your plants or crops.
The bug blaster is designed to create a 360-degree wall of water that also shoots steady blasts of water not only at the undersides of leaves but also at the top. With this tool, you can kill off about 70% & 100% of adult and immature whiteflies respectively.
While taking back control of your plants, you cause no damage to plants or the environment.
Introduce Natural Predators
One other effective and natural way to get rid of whiteflies is by introducing natural predators. There are several of these that prey on whiteflies. Such predators include whitefly parasites, ladybugs and lacewing larvae. These feed on whiteflies at all stages of development.
It isn’t best to introduce natural predators when there’s a full-blown whitefly infestation. Rather, you should consider this method only when it isn’t so serious. This should take care of the problem effectively.
Some organic pesticides aren’t entirely non-toxic.
Therefore, extra care should be taken when applying such pesticides. You might want to read the full instructions before purchase.
The application of organic pesticides can be used in combination with other methods such as the introduction of natural predators.
This is another type of organic insecticide. Safer Soap is fast-acting and works by destroying the soft bodies of insect pests, including whiteflies.
A single application will hardly get the job done. You’ll need to repeat this for about 7 to 10 days for full effect.
Pests also die by dehydration when this insecticide touches their body. For the best results, you’ll need to follow every use instruction provided. That way, you can apply the right dosage to achieve a maximum kill.
Treating With Botanical Insecticides
One of the most effective ways to get rid of whiteflies is by using a fast-acting botanical insecticide. Unlike most harmful insecticides that are made with synthetic chemicals, the active ingredients used are derived from plants.
READ: Herbs That Deter Aphids
This makes botanical insecticides have less harmful side-effects.
What more? Botanical insecticides are known to break down much faster. To use them properly, extra caution must be taken by reading all the instructions for use. that way, you have a better understanding of the right amount to apply and the directions for use.
Despite the effective nature of botanical insecticides in getting rid of whiteflies, these shouldn’t be included in your first line of attack. Rather, consider using other much safer alternatives. In other words, botanical insecticides should be among your last resort during difficult infestations.
This biological insecticide is highly effective and delivers a deadly blow to whiteflies. It contains an active ingredient known as Beauvaria Bassiana. As an entomopathogenic fungus, it eliminates a wide variety of difficult pests in little time. Thus, giving you a firm grip over whitefly problems.
As with most insecticides, a detailed understanding of application methods must be obtained before proceeding with treatment.
Carefully read all the instructions that come along with it. Apart from its use instructions, safety instructions are as important too.
Have you ever considered horticultural oils as reliable whitefly control remedies? If you haven’t you might want to give it a try. Horticultural oils are known to get rid of whiteflies at all levels of development.
Get these from your nearest store and use them as instructed.
Before using this method, be careful to find out if you have a negative reaction to it. The side effects of using these oils are provided in the accompanying instructions. If your body easily reacts, you might want to be extra cautious about how you proceed.
Organic Neem Oil for Whiteflies
What is a natural remedy for whiteflies? Try Neem Oil.
Organic neem oil is sold and used for plant pest control. After getting this from your nearest store, it should be sprayed directly onto leaves (especially the undersides). This helps destroy whiteflies at any stage of development, including adults.
When applying organic neem oil to plants, the recommended mixture should be followed. The mixture is then sprayed all over the leaves (including the undersides) It should be entirely wet and left to dry. There may be a need to apply this more than once.
In any case, follow the use instructions carefully.
Will Vinegar Kill Whiteflies.
Yes. Insecticide soap is very effective in killing whiteflies. Add two teaspoons each of dish detergents, baking soda, and white vinegar to a gallon of water to produce one.
A disadvantage of using this whitefly control washing up liquid is that it also kills off the good bugs.
Use Reflective Material
Some reflective material like foil papers or discarded CDs will prove useful in getting rid of whiteflies. These, when tied across plants help disrupt pests through the reflections given off.
If you’re in doubt, or this doesn’t seem sufficient to you, consider using it in addition to the other methods listed here. Such a double-pronged approach should give you the relief you seek.
Whiteflies on Hibiscus Plant
Long-term infestations can be controlled using insecticides containing neem oil. These products interfere with the metabolic processes of whiteflies and suffocate the nymphs, thereby reducing the offending population drastically.
Has this been useful? It surely will. Getting rid of whiteflies isn’t such a difficult task if you know exactly what to do.
The tips provided here will go a long way in helping you protect your plants or crops from pest damage.