Whiteflies are small true bugs, white during adult stages whereas finding on the undersides of the leaves like small white tiny dots during the nymph stages that appear flattened, oval scales without legs and remain stick to these sites unless they become motile after sucking sap from the leaves. They are supposed to be the carrier of several viral and fungi diseases especially Leaf Curl Virus and Sooty mold are more notable in the garden scenes. Two most occurring strains are Bemisia argentifolii and Bemisia tabaci that can do noticeable damage to any edible garden once they become capable of flying while the best strategy to control them shows significant results during the Nymph stages when they are present undersides of the leaves. Before they cause considerable damage to the new growth and tender shoots, learn how to get rid of whiteflies quickly on your plants.
Table of Contents
- How to Prevent and Control Whiteflies in the Edible Gardens
- What are whiteflies and where do they come from?
- How do whiteflies damage plants?
- What is the lifecycle of whiteflies?
- How to prevent whiteflies in your garden?
- How to control whiteflies biologically?
- How to control whiteflies organically?
How to Prevent and Control Whiteflies in the Edible Gardens
#1 Rubbing Alcohol (Solimo 70% Isopropyl Alcohol)
The first question that arises in your mind on first spotting them on your plants is how to get rid of whiteflies quickly?
Make a mixture of rubbing alcohol with water, liquid soap and mouth wash to wash them away using a pressurized sprayer especially on the undersides of the leaves that dislocated and kill them gradually on the ceasing of sap-sucking from the leaves.
For 10 ounces solution, add 2 ounces of rubbing alcohol, 2 ounces mouth wash, 1-ounce liquid soap and 5 ounces of tap water. Spray in the evening and monitor leaves for any sign of burning. Avoid adding liquid soap if the surrounding temperature is too high.
#2 Ed Rosenthal’s Zero Tolerance-Herbal Pesticide
1 quart of this concentrate makes 1 gallon of solution to be used on the entire plant foliage with the help of mist sprayer.
#3 PyGanic Gardening 8oz, Botanical Insecticide
#4 Azera Gardening
#5 Organocide® Bee Safe 3-in-1 Garden Spray
Caring surface temperature is very important for its applications. Avoid if the temperatures exceed 95°F.
A single application is enough for complete control of whitefly on plants. You may repeat after 7 days if the infestations prolong.
Add 3 ounces of Organocide®3-in-1 Garden Spray in 1 gallon of water and shake well before use. A hand-held sprayer can do the rest of your job.
#6 Bonide – Insect Control Systemic Granules
Add 1 pound of granules to 8 medium sizes rose plant or shrubs of the similar type. For containers, add 2.5 tablespoons in 1 gallon of water. The application may be repeated after 8 weeks during the growing season for complete coverage of whiteflies in house and ornamental plants including lawns.
What are whiteflies and where do they come from?
Coming towards identifying these tiny creators you must be carious that what do whiteflies look like? It’s not hidden anyways that they belong to class Insecta and the most common occurring strains in the US climate are Bemisia argentifolii and Bemisia tabaci where B.argentifolii is also called silver leaf whitefly. Most of the species have a wingspan of 3 mm or even less, the body is 1 mm to 2 mm long. Some giant whiteflies have length up to 5 millimeters. They are small tiny insects when flying and tiny, flattened, oval scales when present undersides of the leaves as Nymphs where they are hardly noticed due to their hiding locations. B.argentifolii is usually causing the biggest destructions in the vegetables and fruit orchards while B. tabaci causes more destruction to the field crops such as Tobacco, Cotton, and Cereals. The best time to identify any of these strains is during their Nymph stage when they are present undersides of the leaves busy in sucking sap from the newly emerged leaves and tender shoots. They develop red eyespot upon changing their instar from Nymph to adult stages of their growth. The pupa of the Silver leaf whitefly looks rounded and dome and even pointed sometimes. The pupa has no filaments. They have several pairs of wax filaments arising from the top. Adults are generally white, as their name indicates, although the body of the Silver leaf is slightly more yellow. However, their color alone is not the basis for their identification but the difference in the angle of their wings to their body.
How do whiteflies damage plants?
Generally speaking, gardeners don’t like plants infested or damaged by whiteflies when they visit nurseries to buy plants as the quality of the plants deteriorate after they are infested with whiteflies and its not wise decision to bring already infested plants to your edible garden that may damage your existing plants. Whiteflies infest numerous garden plants by sticking them to the undersides of the leaves with the help of stylus that they insert into the epidermal leaf layer and suck the plant sap. Besides sucking sap they secrete sticky saliva on the surface of the leaves that creates an ideal media to attract sooty mold and many other fungi diseases. Whiteflies are also considered the carriers of tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLC) and Gemini Virus on Cotton causing (CLCV) which are hard to recover and diminishes thousands of acres of standing crops in the growing season.
What is the lifecycle of whiteflies?
Females often lay down eggs on the undersides of leaves, shoot curvatures and undersides of buds on the plant. Eggs numbers vary from 200 to 300 depending on the temperature and humidity in any particular area. A female may live up to 45 days that again depends on temperature. All life stages are passed on the same host plant except for the adult stage that migrates to neighboring plants. Eggs are in the form of tiny spindles in semi-circles. Hatching takes place in 8-10 days at 65°-75°F. Upon hatching, nymphs remain stick to the leaves for their feed until they pass other stages to become a flying adult. Depending on the temperatures, whiteflies may have 11 to 23 generations annually. It’s advisable to make necessary arrangements to control them when their populations exceed 5 adults per leaf or 10 Nymphs/leaf but it’s much better to keep them in control before they start flying to other plants to infest them.
Rapid multiplication of whiteflies does compel the serious gardeners to look into prevention and control techniques that are organic, natural and biological for a sustainable control without leaving residual effects on the edibles and their health as well. We will consider these techniques but our priority is how to control whiteflies organically.
Before we go into the further details look into the cultural practices that help prevent and know how to get rid of whiteflies naturally;
How to prevent whiteflies in your garden?
- Induce the culture of raising beneficial insects such as parasitic wasps, lacewings and ladybird beetle and create an environment to invite small predatory birds to live on these flies.
- Don’t bring infested plants to your garden area from the outside climate or nurseries.
- Hang yellow sticky traps and cards having a thin layer of petroleum jelly to control early invasions.
- Initiate removal host plants especially weeds, plant debris and stubbles from your gardening landscape.
- Avoid overpopulating your space and observe fair distances while growing new plants in your indoor gardens.
- Don’t over-fertilize with excessive Nitrogen applications as it invites whiteflies to infest plants.
- Maintain air crossing among the plants and a fare interval between successive watering.
How to control whiteflies biologically?
#7 Nature’s Good Guys-1,000 Encarsia Formosa Eggs for Whitefly Control
#8 Beneficial Delphastus Pusillus-White Fly Predator
How to control whiteflies organically?
#9 Monterey -70% Neem Oil (16 Ounce)
This product is more effective if applied after every 10 days. For heavier infestations, spray after every 7 days.
Add 1 ounce of 70% Neem oil in a gallon of water and spray your plants using a Pressurized sprayer washing them from upside down.