The Q&A Archives: White Flies and Aphids

Question: My plants are covered with white flies and now are getting aphids. What is the best way to get rid of them fast before they cause too much damage? Anything natural?

Answer: White flies and aphids are formidable foes in greenhouse and home environments. They seem to thrive in warm areas and a population explosion can happen in a very short time when the conditions are just right. You can lower the population by making sticky yellow traps to suspend in and around the affected plants. Take squares of bright yellow paper or cardboard, spread both sides with petroleum jelly or 'Tanglefoot' and put the traps in among the foliage or place them on stakes and stick them in the potting soil. White flies and aphids will be attracted by the yellow color, will fly towards it and become hopelessly stuck on the sticky surface. Replace the traps as they become filled with dead insects. If you must resort to chemical controls, both white flies and aphids are soft bodied insects that are susceptible to Insecticidal Soap sprays. Carefully read and follow the label directions for best results.

Ladybeetles, lacewings, and parasitic wasps, all voracious hunters of aphids and whitefly larvae, can be purchased for use in gardens and greenhouses. They do a good job of keeping the populations below a damaging level.

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