No one would be okay finding their gardens sadly infested with white flying bugs. Of course, you do too. So, looking for how to get rid of whiteflies on plants is very essential.
Fortunately, you will get complete information on identifying their infestations on your houseplants or outdoors through this article.
However, before we go to the most critical points, it is better to know what they are first.
Table of Contents
- Removing Whiteflies on Plants is a Must
- Whiteflies Lifecycle
- The Signs of Whiteflies on Your Indoor and Outdoor Plants
- Where Do Whiteflies Come From?
- Methods on Getting Rid of Whiteflies
- How to Get Rid of Whiteflies on Plants Naturally?
- 1. Vacuum the upper and underside of the leaves
- 2. Spray the vegetable and tomato plants with dish soap solution
- 3. Use other whitefly spray made of neem oil
- 4. Cut off the most damaged leaves
- 5. Earthworm casting to repel the whiteflies and organic fertilizer too
- 6. Grow some plants that repel whiteflies around
- 7. Use the yellow sticky whiteflies traps for adults
- 8. Control whiteflies infestations by inviting its natural predators
- 9. Handpicking is also worth trying
- 10. Garlic spray is the ultimate way
- 11. That’s okay to use the organic commercial products too
- Preventing Whiteflies from Coming Back
- Final Thought
Removing Whiteflies on Plants is a Must
Without question, whiteflies are one of the many plant pests you need to watch out for.
They are related to mealybugs and aphids, but a yellow body with a pair of white wings will be able to distinguish whiteflies from others.
However, both whiteflies, aphids, and mealybugs will damage the plant by sucking the live-giving juice on the plant from the stems and leaves.
An uncontrolled whitefly attack will make the plant weaker and then die.
Therefore, you should not justify the presence of these white flying bugs because they do not provide any benefit to your plants, but rather a disaster.
Whiteflies not only attack outdoor plants, but they also love houseplants.
Additionally, eradicating them requires patience and persistence because they can come back at any time, especially in the summer.
Even so, you can still control their growth using simple tools and materials at home such as snippers, handheld vacuums, neem oil, and other home remedies.
There are more than three stages that whiteflies go through during their life cycle. This phase can last from four to six weeks.
However, there are only three stages that we need to highlight in this case, namely the egg, nymph, and adult stages.
The egg phase can be said not to do any valuable damage to a plant. But still, this will visually disturb your plants.
Usually, adult whiteflies will lay their eggs on the leaves’ underside. When you flip it over and look closely, it is like a very distracting collection of white dots.
Whiteflies nymphs go through about four stages before they eventually become adult whiteflies. It is the nymph phase that mostly destroys the plants.
3. Adult Whiteflies
Adult whiteflies live for one to two months. As nymphs, they are also the most destructive to plants if not treated immediately.
They will suck up the juices in the stem, leaves, and flower buds, causing the plant to wither and die slowly.
The Signs of Whiteflies on Your Indoor and Outdoor Plants
Growers might notice three signs to indicate their plants are infested with whiteflies. The first indication that you can find directly is while disturbing the leaves of your houseplants.
Then, you find lots of white bugs flying into the air. That’s right! those are adult whiteflies.
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However, you often find the white infestations on the leaves but see no white bugs flying around when you have already disturbed them.
Hence, those are not whiteflies, but mealybugs instead.
Meanwhile, you can consider the second sign when you flip each leaf and find many white spots there.
Thus, those are the eggs, larvae, and nymphs of whiteflies.
Sometimes you will also find sticky, waxy honeydew attached to the underside of the leaves. That is the whiteflies’ secretion after sucking live-giving juices through the plant stems or flower buds.
Those three indications are, of course, closely related.
You must immediately be alert and take quick steps in giving treatment even though you only find one cue.
Otherwise, you are prepared to see these whiteflies damage your favorite plants.
But do not fret. Here you will find out some natural ways to remove whiteflies, even down to the eggs at once.
Where Do Whiteflies Come From?
Generally, whiteflies will invade your outdoor plants most in summer. Also, the growers will already understand the situation.
Thus, they immediately deal with it even though no one knows where this tiny destroyer came from in the first place.
Then, what about house plants? Why can whiteflies also attack the plants you put inside the room?
The answer is no-frills. Here are some situations that can cause whiteflies also infest your indoor plants.
- Whiteflies come in through your window during summer -as it has a tiny body.
- You bought a new plant that was already full of white bugs and did not quarantine it first.
- Growing plants in contaminated potting soil.
- Whiteflies accidentally get caught in the vegetables, tomatoes, or flowers you get from the garden.
- Putting indoor plants outside during summertime.
Methods on Getting Rid of Whiteflies
There are two ways to eradicate whiteflies on plants; using toxic chemicals and natural or organic ingredients.
1. Toxic Chemical
No doubt, the first time the growers found whiteflies on their crops, they chose to use pesticides to get rid of them.
This method seems to be very effective. Yet, due to its chemical composition, it not only kills whiteflies but also negatively impacts the environment.
For example, hydrogen peroxide, its ability to kill whiteflies, can harm the plant too if applied in too many doses.
2. Natural Ways
In contrast to toxic chemicals, insecticides made of natural or organic ingredients are believed to be safer for plants.
Natural insecticides can also be used for years, though.
Today, home gardeners prefer to use natural methods because they found many negative impacts while using chemical ones.
Moreover, the Planet Natural Research Center also found that whiteflies are already resistant to several pesticides.
That is why this article provides you with some natural ways below.
How to Get Rid of Whiteflies on Plants Naturally?
Previously, you already recognized what whiteflies are, identified their infestation, and found the cause of their presence on outdoor plants and houseplants.
Now, it is time to discuss several natural methods to get rid of them.
Natural methods using organic ingredients are believed to eliminate these tiny white bugs more effectively than toxic chemical ones.
In addition, they are considered safe for pets. Furthermore, here are eleven steps to do.
Read also: How to Get Rid of Corn Flies
1. Vacuum the upper and underside of the leaves
Some people may never think of this method before. But believe me, vacuuming is the most straightforward home remedy for whiteflies on plants.
You merely need a small hand-held vacuum to suck off all the adult whiteflies and larvae from leaves to stems.
Adult whiteflies are likely to escape after being vacuumed. So, it is better to put the collection of white buggers in a plastic bag than seal it tightly before chucking it in the trash.
Thus, the whiteflies have no chance of flying and returning to the plants again. Additionally, vacuuming is suitable for controlling the presence of other houseplants pests.
2. Spray the vegetable and tomato plants with dish soap solution
The natural way to kill whiteflies is not complicated, though. You do not need to spend more on this method because you already have all the materials at home.
Those are dish soap, water, and a spray bottle.
Making solutions for a spray for whiteflies is also relatively easy. Mix 1 tsp of mild liquid soap with 1 liter of water, then put the mixture in a spray bottle.
After that, spray it all over the leaves and stems of plants infested with whiteflies. Choose a plant-friendly dish soap, as some products will damage the plant.
To test it, you can try to spray only one part of the infested plant before spraying the solution to the whole part.
Alternatively, you can also buy pre-mixed organic insecticidal soap in the marketplace.
3. Use other whitefly spray made of neem oil
You can also put neem oil to your dish soap solution to eliminate whiteflies on plants. This mixture is effective in repelling whiteflies.
Besides, it is safe for all indoor and outdoor plants.
It is available in a liquid concentrate that can be dissolved in water and granular, which is usually spread on the soil.
Even you can find neem oil in a powdery form that you can sprinkle onto the plant’s leaves and stems.
To make a neem oil solution, you can mix approximately 1.5 tsp neem oil extract, 1 tsp dish soap, and 1 liter of water.
After spraying this solution on plants, it will usually leave a residue on the leaves that can prevent whiteflies from coming back and laying their eggs there.In addition to neem oil, you can also make your choice of pre-mixed hot pepper wax spray or horticultural oil.
4. Cut off the most damaged leaves
There is another natural way without using any organic materials. It is namely by cutting off the parts of the plant that are most damaged or most infested with whitefly.
Also, do not forget to cut the leaves that have waxy fluid from the whiteflies’ secretions. So, if you are not into whiteflies sprays, trimming is a suitable method to try.
Seal the infested leaf pieces inside the plastic bag before throwing them in the trash to prevent the adult whiteflies from coming back.
5. Earthworm casting to repel the whiteflies and organic fertilizer too
Apart from treating the leaves and stems of plants, you can also overcome whiteflies infestation by giving earthworm castings to the soil.
Otherwise, you can sprinkle it on the leaves to keep your plants away from these tiny flying destroyers. Besides, earthworm casting acts as a fertilizer for the soil too.
Later, your plants will be much healthier and resistant to whitefly attacks and not make them die quickly.
6. Grow some plants that repel whiteflies around
You know that the natural method is not only limited to using dish soap, neem oil, and worm casting.
But it is also about providing long-term protection to keep your plants away from the white flying bugs attack in the summer.
Moreover, it would help if you merely grew companion plants that can naturally repel whiteflies. Those can be marigolds, catnip, bee balm, chives, basil, peppermint, thyme, and dill.
7. Use the yellow sticky whiteflies traps for adults
The yellow sticky trap is one item that you should not miss.
Even though this item does not contain organic ingredients and only consists of adhesive, at least it does not harm plants and the environment as toxic chemicals do.
Hanging yellow sticky traps on fences near leaves and branches or placing them around shrubs will trap adult whiteflies.
Later, it will make whiteflies challenging to move and even die without disturbing your plants anymore.
8. Control whiteflies infestations by inviting its natural predators
Do whiteflies have natural predators? The answer is yes. Let us start with some insects such as ladybugs, garden spiders, dragonflies, and green lacewing larvae.
They are natural predators that can help you get rid of whitefly in your garden or greenhouse.
Indeed, this method will be pretty challenging because those animals are not a typical type to be owned, but that does not mean you cannot breed them.
Importantly, this is a natural way without harming nearby plants. Instead of the insects mentioned above, hummingbirds also become natural predators of whiteflies.
Therefore, it is good for you to occasionally invite them to your garden by providing a bird feeder or some shelters.
9. Handpicking is also worth trying
For a moment, using this trick will seem a little disgusting. However, handpicking here does not mean that you pick up adult whiteflies and their larvae and eggs with your bare hands.
Instead, use kitchen towels or soft cloths to clean every part of the leaves for whiteflies infestation. This method will be helpful when you find their infestation in small numbers.
Further, you may consider using another organic method if whiteflies are infesting in large numbers.
10. Garlic spray is the ultimate way
The safest way to eradicate whiteflies on plants, especially on vegetables and tomato plants, is to use a garlic spray.
Furthermore, it is a simple home remedy to make.
You need to crush four cloves of garlic, then soak them in a teaspoon of mineral oil for some time. It can be a night.
Next, strain the concentration and mix it with a pint of water.
After everything is ready, merely put it in a spray bottle and splash it on plants that are infested with whiteflies.
11. That’s okay to use the organic commercial products too
In addition to maximizing home remedies, it also allows you to use pre-mixed products that contain natural ingredients. Some of them are Molt-X and JMS Stylet-Oil.
Molt-X is a commercial product in the form of a concentrate made of one of the most effective components of neem seeds called azadirachtin.
You must dilute this ingredient with water or follow the instructions on the package before spraying it on infested plants.
Meanwhile, JMS Stylet-Oil is a whiteflies control product that you can spray all year round and is safe for vegetables, fruit, and ornamental plants.
These two products can later disrupt the life cycle of whiteflies. So there will be no possibility for them to breed, feed on plants, and damage your favorite plants.
Preventing Whiteflies from Coming Back
The way to remove whiteflies is not just about giving one treatment, and these tiny buggers will be gone forever. It is not magic, though.
Instead, you should give the above treatment regularly and check for whiteflies infestations daily to avoid re-attacks from whiteflies.
A few points to remember are to quarantine the plants you just bought and clean the indoor plants after putting them outside during the summer.
Also, spray natural repellants like neem oil regularly on plants.
Simply put, whiteflies are common outdoor and house plants pests with tiny, yellow bodies. Also, they have two sets of white wings.
Whiteflies are the kind of insect that feeds on outdoor and indoor plants. They can cause damage or even death to the plants they infest.
Generally, whiteflies will be related to mealybugs. However, they are two different types of insects though.
Those are eleven steps on how to get rid of whiteflies on plants naturally. Besides, be sure to combine them with preventive measures to provide long-term protection for your favorite plants from whiteflies’ infestation. Good luck!