Whitefly Control 101

 Whitefly

Whitefly

These pestering little white things are notorious for building a resistance to the commonly used pesticides, making chemical control very difficult. Adults are also very sneaky as they tend to lay their eggs on the underside of leaves – almost hiding themselves from you! But don’t worry, here are some organic techniques you can use that have also proven to work!

 Whiteflies laying eggs on leaves

Whiteflies laying eggs on leaves

Whitefly control techniques

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Yellow sticky traps

They may look a little ugly in your garden or a bit hectic in your greenhouse but they work a charm for catching the little buggers. The whiteflies are attracted to the colour yellow and so when they come into contact with the card the sticky glue traps them! Gotcha!

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Aluminium reflective mulch....

Aluminium (tin foil) as a mulch makes it difficult for the flies to find the host plant. They are blinded by the light. This a great technique for your vegetables.

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Blast them away!

One of the simpler techniques is blasting a water jet on the areas of high whitefly concentration. You can then apply your neem oil or insecticidal soap to the leaves, preferably in the afternoon.

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Organic Neem Oil

This should be sprayed on fruits and vegetables trees and flowers to kill the adults, eggs and larvae. Mix in 1 oz/gallon or water and spray the entire leaf surface and underside so that the leaves are wet.

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Check Nitrogen Levels

Ensuring your soil content does not have too much nitrogen. When people use fertilizers that are high in nitrogen you are creating the perfect breeding ground for the pests!

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Beneficial Predators

There are natural predators too! Ladybugs work wonders! Lacewing larvae are great as they feed on their eggs. The whitefly parasite, believe it or not, will destroy nymphs and pupae. For these natural techniques to work best – introduce or release when the pest levels are at their lowest to medium levels of infestation

A few things you should know...

The female adult whitefly can lay hundreds of eggs- usually in a circular pattern. In hotter climates one egg can grow into adult stage in just 16 days! The lifespan of a whitefly is only one month, so in warmer climates as well as greenhouses, the reproduction cycle is almost continuous.

It is more common to find whiteflies in warmer regions, but don’t be fooled, these guys are survivors and will not shy away from cooler climates. They will attack your veggies, fruits and even ornamental plants with just as much enthusiasm.

 Whitefly damage on leaves

Whitefly damage on leaves

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