Home gardeners do not need to use pesticides to control these small winged insects, which may ruin food gardens and ornamental plants alike.
When a plant’s leaves are disturbed, a swarm of tiny white flying insects may emerge from the foliage. There is a risk of whiteflies (Trialeurodes vaporariorum) consuming the plant’s life-giving liquids if they are allowed to fester unattended.
Yellow-hued bodies and two white wings distinguish whiteflies from mealybugs, although they are not household flies. When it’s hot outside, whiteflies thrive, feeding on both indoor and outdoor plants and multiplying quickly. It’s possible to get rid of them, but it requires vigilance and patience. Finally, you won’t have to use any toxic pesticides.
Many household items and basic instruments can be used to eliminate whiteflies. Using just a few of these products will discourage whiteflies from invading your garden, so you don’t need to use all of them.
- Vacuum cleaner with a handle
- A pair of garden shears
- A cannister with a spray nozzle
- Dish soap in a bottle
- Castings from earthworms
- Neem seed oil
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BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Some gardeners use harmful chemicals to get rid of whiteflies as soon as they see them landing on their plants for the first time. According to the Planet Natural Research Center, whiteflies have become resistant to several pesticides, therefore this approach may not be effective.
It’s better for the environment and safer to employ on food-producing plants if you utilize natural, homemade, or organic methods to get rid of these pests.
STEP 1: Vacuum infected plants.
Get the whiteflies out of the plant as soon as possible. Flicking them off or shooing them away will have no effect. They’ll be back in no time. To get rid of the insects, use a tiny portable vacuum cleaner. To get rid of the flies and their larvae, lift the leaves and vacuum the undersides of them, as well. Aside from vacuuming, you may use it to get rid of different forms of pests in your home.
Don’t throw away the collection bin after you’ve gotten rid of the small bugs. The whiteflies will go to the skies and return to the plants. As an alternative, it is advisable to put the critters in a plastic bag and seal them before discarding them.
STEP 2: Remove the most damaged leaves.
They feed on one leaf at a time, sucking out all the juices and then moving on to another. Even though the injured leaves are beyond saving, the plant will keep sending energy to them until they are removed.
Cut off any wilted or waxy leaves with a good pair of garden shears or pruning nippers to keep your plants looking their best. The whiteflies excrete honeydew after eating the plant’s vital liquids, which is what we know as nectar. Before disposing of the clipped-off leaves, place them in a plastic bag and seal it.
STEP 3: Clean leaves and stems with spray.
Adult whiteflies can be killed without hurting plants using a simple mix of liquid dish detergent and water. Rinse the dishes with 1 gallon of water and 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap mixed together. Spray the leaves and stems of all affected plants with the solution, ensuring that the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves and the stems are well covered.
Adult whiteflies can be killed using a solution of dish soap and water. In 3 to 4 days, the eggs will hatch and re-infest the plants. Whiteflies may have hatched while you weren’t spraying the plants, so be sure to do so every few days.
STEP 4: Help plants battle pests.
Whitefly infestations can be avoided if plants are watered and fertilized on a regular basis. A weak plant is more likely to succumb to a disease or other ailment. Add earthworm castings to the soil if you have a problem with whiteflies in your garden or indoor plants.
Whiteflies are deterred by the presence of earthworm castings, which also serve as an organic fertilizer. To keep whiteflies at bay, casts can be strewn on foliage.
STEP 5: Get rid of the newcomers.
Whiteflies can harm or destroy your plants if you don’t keep a tight eye on your garden. Whiteflies can be controlled without hurting plants by using neem oil, a seed extract. When a white-winged bug is spotted nearby, spray the plants with this natural pesticide to keep them safe.
When diluted with water, the concentrated liquid can be applied to plants as an aeration spray. In addition, it can be applied to the leaves and stems as a granular or as a fine powder. Use only as directed by the product’s instructions.
STEP 6: Think about long-term protection.
Whitefly infestations can be difficult to detect and halt before they do significant harm to plants, which is why it’s just as necessary, if not more important, to take measures to keep the bugs away. Planting a companion tree can assist.
Catnip, bee balm, basil, chives, dill, and marigolds are some of the plants that naturally repel whiteflies. Whiteflies and other pests, such as spider mites, will be less likely to invade your garden if you put them there.
If whiteflies aren’t taken care of quickly, several types of plants, including squash, cucumber, tomatoes, and other warm-season vegetables, can be seriously harmed or even killed by them. Roses and other ornaments can also be harmed by these pests. Whiteflies can infest citrus trees as well. The good news is that none of these approaches to eradicating and avoiding whitefly infestations will harm plants or the environment in any way.
How To Get Rid of Whiteflies on Houseplants
When you water your houseplants in the morning or during the day, do you see white, flying insects? It seems like your plants aren’t as vibrant as they once were. You could also be getting leaves that are sticky for no apparent reason. It’s time to take a closer look; you might have a whitefly infestation. Even so, we’re here to help you identify, treat, and prevent whitefly infestations in your prized indoor plant babies.
Do you have a problem with whiteflies, and if so, how can you tell? Whiteflies are easy to spot because they’re active throughout the day, and if you disturb the leaves of your plant, you’ll see a cloud of small white flies. In order to avoid the sun and predators, they cling to the undersides of leaves, where they lay their eggs and hide from them (tiny, pale specks that dot the undersides, sometimes in circular patterns). You’ll want to keep an eye out for new growth, and you may notice a sticky residue on the leaves from honeydew. Leaves that turn yellow and fall off the stem are telltale signs of whitefly damage, as is general slowed growth.
On the left, whiteflies and their eggs are seen; on the right, whiteflies and their larvae.
Flying insects known as whiteflies have a triangular shape and have a pale yellow or white body with white wings (approximately 1/12th of an inch in size). The bandedwinged whitefly, for example, has tiny stripes on its wings, making it look a little different from other whiteflies. Aphids and mealybugs are closer relatives of these soft-bodied pests, which are not technically flies. At one time, they can produce up to 400 eggs. The eggs are pale until they are just about to hatch, and they hatch within a week or a month. When hatched, the larvae will stay in place, feeding, until they mature into winged adults.
Whiteflies are minuscule flying insects with pale yellow or white bodies and white wings (approximately 1/12th of an inch). Like the bandedwinged whitefly, which has a faint pattern on its wings, there are many variants. Aphids, mealybugs, and other soft-bodied pests are more closely linked than flies to these pests. More than 400 eggs can be laid in one sitting; the chicks hatch in a week or so, and the eggs are pale until just before they are ready to hatch. When the eggs hatch, the larvae will remain in the same location, feeding, until they reach adulthood and develop wings.
Because they feed on plant liquids, whiteflies and their larvae damage plants by sucking them up. Additionally, when they feed, they leave behind honeydew, a sticky material that can attract other pests such as ants and promote the growth of mold and other fungal illnesses. Honeydew. Whiteflies can be more difficult to remove on smaller plants, while larger, more resilient plants can withstand their parasitic feeding for a longer period of time. However, whiteflies may be dealt with if patience and persistence are applied, and they can be found easily.
1. CHECK PLANTS FIRST (AND ROUTINELY)
Be sure to thoroughly inspect a new plant before bringing it home from the nursery or plant shop, checking for any signs of pests. Maintaining new additions to your collection in isolation for a few days before use is also a good idea, until you can be certain of their health. Take your plant outside and water it down gently if you notice anything. Treat it as an individual plant until it is ready to join the rest of your plants. As a general rule, when watering, inspect under leaves and in crevices to see if there are any signs of pest infestations.
2. AVOID HIGH-NITROGEN FERTILIZERS
Avoid nitrogen-rich fertilizers if you don’t want to attract pests to your plants’ new growth. If you’re looking for an effective alternative, consider our Wally Nutrients blends, which are specifically designed for general houseplant growth and trailing plant length.
3. REGULAR TLC
Taking care of the basics like pruning, removing wilted leaves, and keeping the correct climate and humidity for your plants will help prevent the risk of all kinds of pests and illnesses.
Approach your whitefly problem in the early morning or late evening when they are at their most sluggish for the best results. To keep the whiteflies at bay, you’ll need to employ a mix of the methods listed below. You may have to repeat the process several times before the infestation is eradicated.
1. HOSE IT OFF
The best way to get rid of adult insects and eggs is to rinse your plant off and scatter them. Focus on the undersides of leaves and newly sprouted flora. Keep it away from your other plants while you’re treating it so that the insects don’t hop to another plant.
2. YELLOW STICKY TRAPS
Whiteflies see yellow as a smorgasbord of fresh vegetation. Whiteflies and other flying pests can be easily attracted to our yellow sticky trap packets (branded for gnats, but they’ll also work for these insects). If you want to save money, you can coat a yellow index card with petroleum jelly and use it as a makeshift substitute. The yellow will draw them in either way, causing them to become entrapped and eventually perish. Even if you employ this method, you’ll still have to deal with any eggs that have been laid on the underside of leaves, so be sure to follow up with one of the other solutions on this page in addition to the sticky traps. It’s a good idea to keep new sticky traps installed as a preventative measure once the whiteflies have been eradicated. For sticky traps, there are a variety of options (such tape and stakes), so select the one that works best for you.
3. USE A VACUUM
In order to collect eggs, larvae, and adults, vacuum the underside of leaves every few days using a handheld attachment on a low suction setting on your vacuum cleaner. Keep your vacuum cleaner out of the house after you’ve finished using it. As a single whitefly can deposit 400 eggs, take careful and avoid harming the plant.
4. INSECTICIDAL SPRAYS (DIY AND OTHERWISE)
Neem oil or a soap spray can be used to get rid of these pests by spraying the underside of your plant’s leaves. Spray in the mornings or nights when the weather is cooler to get the best benefits. Don’t spray the tops of your plant’s leaves, where whiteflies don’t congregate, to prevent photosynthesis from being disrupted. Consider the following selections:
To produce your own homemade soap spray, combine 1 liter of warm water with 8 drops of dish soap in a spray bottle. Use the spray directly on leaves. On an unnoticed leaf, saturate it with the soap spray and return 2 days later; if you observe burn, dilute the mixture a touch with more water or less soap to avoid damaging your plant’s leaves. Every other day until the problem is under control, squirt the soap spray on the underside of each leaf and then rinse the plant to dislodge the dead bugs (which can attract more pests). Getting rid of all the pests may take a few weeks.
Make sure to test on a single leaf first and dilute the liquid suitably with equal parts vinegar and water. Continue until the desired result is achieved.
Because of its distinctive aroma, neem oil is a natural essential oil that is effective against pests in both the short and long term. You can use a spray bottle to administer a mixture of 1 teaspoon Neem oil, 1 tablespoon dish soap, and 1 liter of water to the underside of your plant’s leaves in order to help it adhere. As with the other mixes, make sure to test for leaf burn on a single leaf and dilute as necessary. Every few days, reapply the oil to get rid of whiteflies, and be careful to rinse the dead bugs off. Neem oil can also be used on a regular basis as a preventative strategy against future infestations. Use caution when applying Neem oil to plants that will be exposed to direct sunshine; the oil may trap heat and cause the plant to become dehydrated.
5. PRUNE AND TREAT
A lower whitefly population can be controlled by regularly pruning your leaves. Insecticides, such as rubbing alcohol or dish detergent and water, can be used to kill the bugs and prevent them from laying new eggs; use in conjunction with sticky traps for an efficient treatment method (but keep an eye out for a resurgence of eggs). This is most effective if you can identify the issue early on in the process.
6. USE A NATURAL REPELLANT
Whiteflies can be deterred by placing a naturally repelling plant near your afflicted plants (after quarantining it for a few days to assure its health!). If you want to keep whiteflies away, grow strong-smelling plants such as mint or parsley or any other aromatic plant, like onion or nasturtiums or zinnias or pineapple sage or hummingbird brush or bee balm. After dislodging and killing eggs and larvae, it can help keep whiteflies away when used in conjunction with a good hose-down and a soap spray.