How To Get Rid Of Whiteflies On Plants

Posted on: 22 November 2017

Whiteflies are common pests you may find in your garden or on your houseplants. Resembling moths with a scaly appearance, they measure a sixteenth-inch long at full size 

Despite their small size, they can do tremendous damage to plants, literally sucking the life out of them by feeding on sap and eventually causing plant death. Follow these steps to treat the whitefly infestation.

Prepare to Treat the Whitefly Infestation

To treat a whitefly infestation, gather:

  • plastic gloves
  • hand-held vacuum
  • liquid soap
  • insect soap
  • spray bottle
  • sticky substance
  •  neem oil
  • yellow paint
  • one-fourth inch masonite board, plywood, or cardboard
  • wood stake
  • mulch earthworm castings
  • reflective material

Inspect the vegetation, and go over them with a hand-held vacuum on the lowest setting early in the morning. Infested leaves commonly have honeydew on them or look faded. 

Pull or trim leaves without bugs that are more than half damaged, then burn them. Remove the vacuum bag when it gets full, and place it in the freezer for 24 hours to kill larvae, then discard it.  

Blast Them With Soap and Water or Neem Oil

Give the leaves at the bottom of the plant a blast of water, since they like to hide in that area. Alternately, spray them with a hose. 

If the temperature is below eighty degrees, mix a teaspoon of liquid soap in a gallon of cool water, fill a spray bottle with the mixture, and test a small section of the plant for wilting. If it doesn't wilt, add two tablespoons of liquid soap 

Repeat the spraying process every three to four days. You may need to spray plants for several weeks. 

For a natural pesticide, spray neem oil on the leaves when no rain is expected, and reapply if it rains.  For a more potent treatment, apply insect soap.  

Make a Sticky Trap

Whiteflies are attracted to yellow objects like a commercial sticky trap, or you can make your own trap. Paint a piece of cardboard, masonite board, or plywood board yellow, let it dry, then glue or nail it to a stake. 

Apply a sticky coating like homey, petroleum jelly, glue, or motor oil to the trap surface. Set the trap near the plants driving it in the soil, and check periodically for captures. 

Control Future Infestations

When you get the bugs under control, add a two-inch thick layer of mulch around the plants. Avoid using mulch in hot weather, which may overheat plants.

Earth worm castings from a garden store are also effective for keeping away whiteflies and they act as natural fertilizer. Lay a piece of reflective material, such as aluminum foil, around the plants to make it harder for them to find hosts plant. 

For professional help, contact local pest control services.