How To Use Organic or Natural Insect Controls For The Pesky Whitefly
If it's white and tiny and flies away when you disturb the plant you probably have whitefly.
Whiteflies also secrete a sweet, sticky substance on the plant leaves and this honeydew turns black and mouldy, disfiguring the plant in the process.
Hundreds of Eggs
Whiteflies lay hundreds of eggs and a single adult female quickly produces enough offspring for a blinding cloud of white.
There are natural predators for this pest such as tiny wasps but if the whiteflies get ahead of the predators, it may take a while for the predator to overcome the horde and human intervention is necessary in the garden.
Sticky Yellow Tags
Hanging bright yellow, plastic, sticky traps (we use 5x7 yellow plastic cards) around the plants is a recommended control. The pest is attracted to the bright yellow colour and by using one of the horticultural glues to coat the plastic, an effective and safe trap can be made. Just using traps, approximately every 12 square feet in the garden, should dramatically reduce but not eliminate the numbers of whiteflies.
Control With Soap
They can also be controlled with soap or pyrethrin sprays. These sprays have to hit the pest to kill and repeated applications are necessary as the eggs don't seem to be affected by the sprays. Whiteflies are one of those pests that hitch-hikes into the house on your indoor plants. Make sure they are removed before bring in your plants this fall.
In commercial one-crop operations, whiteflies can be a major pest but in the home organic garden, their populations rarely become an issue. The odd sick-plant will become infested but generally you'll see them here and there. Soap sprays are the control of choice.
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