Whiteflies

Whiteflies

 

Whiteflies, also known as aleyrodidae, are a common pest in gardens and greenhouses. These are soft-bodied, winged insects are closely related to both mealybugs and aphids, and not the fly as one might expect. Pre-adult whiteflies are almost clear and blend in with the leaves. More than 1550 species have been identified.

At 1/2 of an inch, they are very tiny and are usually camouflaged but can be found in clusters on the undersides of leaves. The easiest way to see identify them is to tap on the plant’s container or the plant itself; a miniature snow storm of white flecks will ascent from the plant.

Whiteflies are active during the daytime, so they are easier to spot than some many other nocturnal pests. White flies are able to  overwinter and reproduce throughout the year in warmer climates. The adult female can lay hundreds of eggs on the underside of leaves, usually in a circular pattern. In hotter weather, one whitefly can even go from egg stage to grown adult in just 16 days. These tiny white pests live for a month or two in warmer climates and they thrive in greenhouses; their reproduction cycle practically continuous.

All species of white flies affect a wide variety of plants.

How To Get Rid of WhiteFlies:

Chemical pesticides are not a good idea for several reasons. Often not effective on whitefiles as they can develop a tolerance to the toxins, like viruses mutate to make certain antibiotics ineffective. In addition, pesticides are indiscriminate killers, not only will it kill the whiteflies but it will kill any beneficial insects that may also be present.

Your best offense is to stop a whitefly infestation before it occurs. Carefully inspect all of your plants twice a week. If you have had an outbreak, inspect them more often.

Lower Soil’s Nitrogen Levels — Check the soil content of your garden to make sure you don’t have too much nitrogen. Fertilizers may have highly enriched the soil with nitrogen which will create an environment that is preferable to whiteflies.

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