How to Get Rid of Whiteflies in Your Garden

Whiteflies are small white insects that feed on plant sap. Despite their name, they are actually not flies. They are related to other garden pests like aphids. These insects suck the nutrients out of your plants — causing them to wilt and die. Here are some ways to effectively get rid of whiteflies, so your plants can thrive in your garden.

1. Get rid of whiteflies with water

You can easily dislodge whitefly eggs and nymphs from infested plants with water. Simply spray the affected areas with water. These young whiteflies still can’t move properly. If they are dislodged, they can easily die from the lack of food.

This is one of the simplest ways to get rid of whiteflies. But there is still a level of complication in it. Make sure to be very gentle in spraying, especially if the affected plants are young or weak. You can easily destroy vulnerable plants with a strong hose.

2. Use a soap spray to get rid of whiteflies

There are many different solutions that have properties that get rid of these garden pests. One such solution is a simple combination of dish soap and water. Simply mix a liter of water with a few drops of dish soap and put the solution in a spray bottle.

Before you use this spray on all your plants, it’s best to test it first. Some plants can be very sensitive and the soap can cause more harm than good. Use the spray in a single leaf first and leave it for a few days. If you notice burning on the leaf, dilute the dish soap in your solution by adding more water.

3. Use a water and vinegar solution

Another solution you can use is a combination of water and vinegar. Mix water and vinegar in equal ratios and put the solution in a spray bottle. Again, it’s important to test the solution first in a single leaf before going all out on your plants. Vinegar is a strong substance that may negatively affect your plants. Add more water if you see any reactions from the leaf after a few days.

4. Get rid of whiteflies with essential oils

Essential oils have always been known to have properties that naturally repel common home pests. For instance, lemon eucalyptus oil is being used in mosquito repellents. Even popular mosquito brands like OFF!® and REPEL® use it.

Neem oil is the one most used for whiteflies. But remember that essential oils like neem oil are highly concentrated. You will have to dilute them in water to prevent adverse side effects for your plants. You can also add some dish soap into the mix.

And again, make sure to test in a single leaf first before spraying your solution on all your plants.

5. Buy commercial insecticidal soap

If you don’t want to mix your own solutions, you can buy a ready-made one. These are basically pesticides that damage the soft bodies of whiteflies, eventually killing the garden pests. If you can find ones with short residual effects, the better.

For effective and safe application, make sure to diligently follow the instructions on the packaging.

6. Buy sticky traps

You can also get rid of whiteflies with sticky traps. These are bright-colored pads that have sticky surfaces. The colors attract whiteflies and the sticky surfaces trap the garden flies and eventually kill them. They are also effective for other garden pests like aphids.

Take note that sticky traps are not revolutionary. They have been here for a long time, and many have been made for other pests, like rats.

7. Vacuum the garden pests

A more manual and hands-on approach is the use of a vacuum cleaner. Simply vacuum up the whiteflies with a handheld vacuum cleaner and throw the vacuum bag in a garbage can away from your home.

It’s important to use a small vacuum cleaner to limit the force it exerts on your plants. This will prevent damage. And it’s important to throw the vacuum bag to an area far away from your home to prevent reinfestations.

8. Let natural predators go in and out of your garden

Whiteflies have a lot of natural predators, including lacewings and ladybugs. You can let nature take its course. Let these natural predators go in and out of your garden and handle the whitefly infestation for you.

Many garden infestations occur anyway because one species is left unchecked. This is why having a diverse ecosystem in your garden can be very beneficial. However, this may mean you have to limit or skip the use of pesticides.

9. Strong-smelling plants often get rid of whiteflies

Another natural approach is the use of plants with natural repellent properties. Some plants naturally repel whiteflies because of their strong smell. Such plants include cilantro, mint, onion, and parsley.

However, you should not rely on this method if you have a severe whitefly infestation. They may help, especially when used as a complement to other methods like the use of spray solutions. But by itself, it may fail to deliver significant results.

10. Keep leaves clean

If your plants are already suffering from a whitefly infestation, make sure to wipe their leaves regularly. Whiteflies like to lay their eggs on the undersides of leaves, so give particular attention to these parts. If they remain clean, you are helping prevent the breeding of new-generation whiteflies.

Also, take note that whiteflies prefer to feed on new growth. You may want to give even more attention to new leaves. Limit the feeding opportunities of these pests and your battle is half over.

Get rid of whiteflies by keeping your garden clean.

11. Heavily inspect new plants

Before you introduce a new plant to your garden, make sure to heavily inspect it first. This is good practice to prevent the introduction of garden pests. Many times, newly planted plants in the garden are the ones who introduce these pests to everything else.

Look for the signs of a whitefly infestation — live whiteflies in the undersides, pale leaves, and the presence of honeydew or mold.

12. Check all plants regularly

Yes, there are a lot of ways to get rid of whiteflies. But prevention will always be better than cure. One of the best ways to prevent whitefly infestations is to regularly check your plants for the signs. Give particular attention to the undersides of leaves. Many gardeners miss whiteflies until it’s already too late because they don’t inspect the undersides.

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