Whiteflies are easy to identify in the greenhouse and garden, as the tiny pests flock to plants by the thousands to feed on juices and sap. Whiteflies can stunt your plants and cause the foliage to turn yellow. Even worse, whiteflies transmit diseases like sooty mold, due to the sticky honeydew the insects exude. You can get rid of garden whiteflies without using toxic chemicals.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Yellow sticky traps
- Insect soap
- Parasitic wasps
- Horticultural oil
- Insect growth modulator
Catch whiteflies with yellow sticky traps. Distribute 4 cards evenly in every 1000 feet of garden or greenhouse space. Hang the cards among the tender new growth whiteflies enjoy feeding on.
Use a vacuum to remove whiteflies from houseplants. Agitate the foliage on the plants to cause the whiteflies to swarm around the plants, and then use your vacuum before they resettle to resume feeding.
Spray affected plants with insect soap. Use insect soap when temperatures are below 80 degrees, as this natural pesticide can burn tender foliage in hot weather.
Apply a natural pesticide containing pyrethrins to kill whiteflies. Manufacturers get this product from chrysanthemum flowers, and you can purchase it in dust or spray form.
Attract parasitic wasps to your garden. Encarsia formosa, in particular, feasts on whiteflies. You can plant nectar rich flowers like sweet alyssum to attract parasitic wasps.
Repel whiteflies with fine horticultural oil. You can apply a light mist of this oil to plants in the early spring, when it will smother the eggs and developing whitefly larvae.
Control your whitefly population with an insect growth modulator (IGM). Purchase an IGM rated for whiteflies (see resources), and the hormone-like chemicals will stop juveniles from developing into reproducing adults.
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