If you have ever seen something like this on a plant, you've encountered whiteflies. They are very small insects that are not actually flies at all. They are relative of aphids and mealy bugs. The problem with whiteflies is they spread easily and damage rapidly. The adults whiteflies drain the sap from your plants and excrete honeydew. The honey dew attracts other insects the both damage the plant and protect the whiteflies. Then to make it worse, the honeydew usually begins to grow sooty mold. Sooty mold is a black coating to the leaves and stops light from reaching the plant.
While the flies are feasting on your plants, they are also laying eggs. They are laying a lot of eggs. Fly eggs all over your plant. These eggs will hatch and the nymphs will begin feeding on the same plant. This is why it is important to target both the adults, nymph and eggs when treating an infested plant. Now you have developed a deep and growing disdain for these pest and you want to know how to get rid of the whiteflies? Well read on.
Get Rid of Whiteflies without Insecticide
First, remove any infested areas completely. Be sure to cut into a healthy part of the plant, just before the dead area. Throw away any infested material into a trash bag and seal it. Dissolve a bar of soap in up to a five gallon bucket of water overnight. Use a sponge or washcloth to soak the soapy water up and white down the leaves and stems of the plant. Make special care to do this on both the top and bottom of the leaves. Spray a soapy solution on the plant for the next one to two weeks to prevent eggs from being attached again. Buy and release natural predators for whiteflies. Delphastus pusillus eat a lot of whiteflies per day and can stop whiteflies in their tracks. Order them on the internet or try a local college. Finally, sticky yellow traps will catch whiteflies much like fly paper does for house flies and gnats. Place a few sticky yellow traps as a sign to know when your whitefly problem is gone.
Get Rid of Whiteflies with Insecticide
First, remove any infested areas completely, just like in the section above. Second, buy an insect control product containing either permethrin or bifenthrin which is also labeled for your target plant. These can be found at a local hardware store, some grocery stores or the internet. This will take care of the adult and nymph whiteflies. Buy and apply a horticultural oil mixture the affected and surrounding plants. Horticultural oil is great at suffocating insects that move very slowly. Be sure to follow all instructions on the label for the insecticides. These steps should solve your whitefly problem.