How to Kill Whiteflies: Organic Control Tips

Wilting leaves in your garden may be a sign of whitefly damage. Learn how to implement controls such as yellow sticky traps, reflective mulch, and insecticidal soap.


| April 26, 2013



Whitefly Illustration

Whiteflies look like tiny white triangles, less than one-tenth inch long, when resting on the undersides of plants.


Illustration By Keith Ward

This article is part of our Organic Pest Control Series, which includes articles on attracting beneficial insects, controlling specific garden pests, and using organic pesticides.

Whiteflies

A chronic problem in greenhouses, whiteflies can also become serious pests during the sultry days of late summer. These sucking insects often appear suddenly, and quickly weaken plants with their constant feeding. Whiteflies are most serious in warm climates where they can survive winter. Good organic whitefly controls include reflective mulches, sticky traps, and vacuuming them from plants. 

What Are Whiteflies?

Small, soft-bodied sucking insects, whiteflies look like tiny white triangles, less than one-tenth inch long, when resting on the undersides of plants. Feeding is concentrated on leaf undersides, where whiteflies remove so much plant sap that the plants are seriously weakened. Many species of whitefly feed on ornamental plants, but only one or two are likely to cause problems in the vegetable garden. Whiteflies are most likely to cause problems on okra, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and sweet potatoes grown in warm climates. In some areas, whiteflies also damage cucumber and cabbage-family crops.





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