Want to learn more about Treatment - treat whiteflies
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Whiteflies are related to aphids, and can be just as pesky! They can also be responsible for spreading a number of different plant viruses. But don’t worry - Planta can help you to manage and recover from an infestation.
SYMPTOMS & IDENTIFICATION
Whiteflies are often found in clusters on the undersides of leaves, so make sure to check your plant thoroughly. They are active during daytime, and are mostly seen during mid- to late summer, when the weather is warmer. They often lay their eggs in concentric (circular) patterns, which is another sign to look out for if you’re unsure if your plant has whiteflies.
Symptoms of Whiteflies to look out for:
As adults they're white or lightly green in color and their wings are white. Juveniles are pale or translucent in appearance and don't have wings
Adult flying individuals are often easily startled, and fly away when they are disturbed
Leaves turn yellow and fall off prematurely
Sticky sap, called honeydew, can be found on the leaves and on surfaces around your plant
Treatment: You should try to treat a Whitefly infestation as early as possible, before the pests have the chance to irreparably weaken your plant. They can be extra tricky to control because they fly so you'll need to be diligent when treating your plants.
1. Isolate the infected plant - move your plant to a separate, closed-off room if possible to prevent the whiteflies from spreading and infesting your other plants. If you have a severely infested plant, consider throwing it away.
2. Spray the leaves with short bursts of water from a hose
This will physically remove them from the plant
Additionally, water will help to remove the sticky honeydew residue that is left behind by the Whiteflies
3. Treat your plant - Note that some plants, especially their flowers, can react badly to pesticides or soaps so test it on a smaller area of the plant first and treat your plant carefully. Always avoid direct sunlight after application as it can otherwise burn the plant.
Treat your plant with a soapy water, neem oil, a store bought pesticide or insecticidal soap.
Spray the leaves until completely wet on both sides
4. Catch them with sticky glue traps
You can buy these from your local garden center, home improvement store, or online
Place them close by your plant, preferably at the same level as the infested foliage
This is a good way to monitor how severe the infestation is, as you will see how many Whiteflies gather and how quickly
5. Consider using biological control for Whiteflies
Whiteflies respond well to biological pest control, so try to expose them to natural predators. These predators include lacewings and ladybugs.
6. Keep treating your plants
Continue repeatedly treating your plant with the pesticide, soap, or solution of your choice, about once a week for the next 4-6 weeks. Then repeat it about once a month for a couple of months. After that you can repeat the treatment if necessary.
HOW CAN I PREVENT THIS IN THE FUTURE?
It’s always a good idea to do regular check ups of your plants for pests, as early detection is a great way to prevent a full infestation from taking hold. Give your plants a quick once-over every now and then to check for any signs of pests.
QUESTIONS ABOUT WHITEFLIES
WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE? Adult Whiteflies are moth-like in appearance, with white wings that vary in shape depending on the species of Whitefly, but are often triangular. They are small, (usually around 1/16 inch or 1.5 mm long), with short antennae.
DO WHITEFLIES BITE HUMANS? Whiteflies are harmless to humans, and are only drawn to plants, so shouldn’t be a problem for people or pets.
WHERE DID THEY COME FROM? These pests typically come from outdoors, and can also be introduced by new plants brought into your home, so always make sure to check newly acquired plants for pests and quarantine them if possible before adding them to your collection.
HOW DO THEY SPREAD? Because adult whiteflies can fly, it is possible that they will fly to new plants to lay eggs. However, they mostly choose to stay near their host plant. Nymphs can’t fly, they attach to the plant to feed and do not move from plant to plant.
HOW LONG DO THEY LIVE? A whitefly’s whole life cycle takes around 3 weeks in total. Adults can then live for up to 2 months. Around 200-400 eggs are laid which then hatch within 5-10 days. They're easiest to identify during their pupal stage. Nymphs can often be mistaken for scale insects.
WHAT DO THEY EAT? Both adults and nymphs feed on plant sap, which can quickly leave the plant weakened and unable to photosynthesize effectively. The honeydew that they produce and deposit on leaves can also lead to the development of black mold.
WHERE DO THEY USUALLY LIVE? Whiteflies are found worldwide, but prefer warmer climates and cannot survive freezing conditions (although nymphs can overwinter as long as it doesn’t get too cold). This means that in southern regions, they are found all year round outdoors, but in colder northern regions, there is only a risk of indoor infestations, during the winter. As such, they are also a common greenhouse pest.