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Getting rid of whiteflies

whitefly in the beds In this article, we will share experiences from foreign farmers and talk about how to identify and get rid of whiteflies. These small insects can be troublesome and pose a serious threat to plants..

A bit of theory

Whiteflies, also known as aleurodids, are soft-bodied winged insects that are closely related to aphids and mealybugs. They live in most regions, however, they are so small that it is extremely problematic to detect them..

Flies can be no more than 2 mm in size, resemble a triangle from above and often accumulate on the lower part of the leaves. They are extremely active during the daytime, so they are easier to spot than some other nocturnal pests. Whiteflies are able to survive the winter and breed throughout the year in warm regions..

One of the most common species is the tobacco whitefly, which is slightly smaller than its counterparts and is yellow in color. It is widespread in a wide variety of regions and affects a wide variety of plants..

You can often see whiteflies in late summer when the weather is warm, and also in greenhouses. This pest loves to suck out liquid from heat-loving vegetables, for example, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and okra. The insect also affects sweet potatoes and cabbage..

How to spot whitefly on plants

underside of foliage Whiteflies suck the sap from plants and in turn produce a sticky substance known as honeydew. Left on the leaves, honeydew can cause fungal diseases..

Plants quickly weaken under the influence of whitefly:

  • they lose the ability to photosynthesize;
  • leaves wither, turn pale or turn yellow, and further growth stops;
  • honeydew is a sign that the pests have been feeding on this plant for several days;
  • you may also notice a clump of ants that are attracted to this sweetish liquid.

Check the undersides of the leaves around the veins for honeydew and white insects, even when they are not visible at first glance. If you catch the moment when the pests are feeding, they will suddenly fly off the leaf in a whole swarm, so it will not be difficult to notice them..

Sometimes you will find eggs on the leaves. This is the beginning of a new generation. When they hatch, the small white oval-shaped larvae will immediately begin to suck on the plant sap, while they still cannot move. For this reason, gardeners often don’t notice the whitefly until it’s too late. Adult females can produce up to 400 eggs, which hatch between one week and a month. They are attached to the leaf in circles, and the color ranges from pale yellow (recently laid) to brown (ready to hatch).

Ways to fight

whitefly controlThere is a wealth of tips and traps you can use to control whitefly. But most importantly, the earlier you start, the better the result will be. In the morning and evening, as you stroll through the garden, check the undersides of the leaves and pay attention to the flocks of small flies that fly away when you approach..

Always start by spraying water with a watering hose (not only for whiteflies, but also for aphids and many other insects). This will cause the pests to fly away. Then treat the leaves with insecticidal soap. Spray the substance completely on both sides. Spreading should be done at the end of the day when it is cool outside, as heat can cause an adverse reaction of plants to the insecticide. Repeat the procedure 2-3 times.

According to the stories of professional gardeners, a mixture of dishwashing detergent and water works well. The ideal proportion is 1 large syringe for 4.5 liters of liquid. It should also be sprayed in the morning and evening hours, when it is still cool outside. It should be noted that this composition is gentle. It is more suitable for preventing the development of a population of pests than for destroying them..

If the solutions do not work and the number of harmful insects is not diminishing, you can use a handheld vacuum cleaner every few days to remove the flies from the plants. It helps against both adults and larvae.

Preventive measures

whitefly trapThe presence of predatory insects on the site will prevent a sharp increase in the number of whiteflies. Ladybugs, spiders, lacewings, and dragonflies are a few beneficial insects. They will help keep the pest population under control. Try to create dragonfly-friendly conditions in your garden that are good for mosquitoes too..

Whiteflies are resistant to chemical insecticides. Using them, you will destroy only beneficial insects, including natural predators and pollinators for the garden..

Place yellow plastic cards or wood planks covered with Vaseline:

  • around tomatoes;
  • peppers;
  • sweet potatoes;
  • cabbage crops.

A 50/50 mixture of petroleum jelly and dishwashing detergent will be sticky enough to keep out the flies. To whiteflies, yellow looks like a mass of fresh foliage. Insects get stuck in the “jelly” and die.

The whitefly is a very hardy and annoying insect. Therefore, the timely use of protective equipment plays a decisive role in the fight against it. Do not let the population grow, and you can destroy the pests without any problems. If the moment is missed, then the tips in this article will definitely help you..

Whitefly and other pest control methods – video

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