The Q&A Archives: Whiteflies on Hibiscus

Question: I have a serious and continuing problem with a white fly and associated sticky web-like coverage on my Hibiscus shrubs. I have used several suggested remedies to no avail. It will disappear temporarily, then return. It has covered all of my shrubs.

Answer: Whiteflies can be a real problem with Hibiscus, but webbing is usually associated with another pest, the Spider Mite. Perhaps both are attacking your plant. Spider mites are tiny little creatures that generally feed on the undersides of leaves and usually leave tell-tale webbing between the leaves and stems of the plants. Use a magnifying glass to inspect your plant and you may find Spider mites, as well. You can wash them off your plant with a strong stream of water. Do this regularly for several days until you've gotten all the eggs off, too. You might want to try trapping the whiteflies with a bright yellow sticky trap (this is how they are controlled in commercial greenhouses). Make your own traps by cutting bright yellow construction paper into squares, spraying with Tanglefoot or spreading with petroleum jelly, and suspending them in or near the foliage of the affected plants. Whiteflies will be attracted by the yellow color and get stuck on the sticky surface. Replace the traps as they become filled. Hope this helps restore your hibiscus to a healthier state!

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