The Q&A Archives: Whiteflies On Cabbage

Question: I planted a flowering cabbage plant last spring.
It has been doing well. Last couple of weeks it has loads of tiny white bugs that fly away when I touch plant or water it. Have sprayed it, but they are not going away. Can you suggest something? They come off plant in a cloud.

Answer: Sounds like an infestation of whiteflies. There are a number of biological controls that you can try to get rid of white flies. A predacious wasp, Encarsia formosa, can be released inside green houses to control whiteflies. The wasps are available through: American Insectaries, Escondido, (619) 751-1436, Applied Bio-Control, (209) 874-1862, and Beneficial Insectary, (800) 477-3715.

Since you're dealing with an outdoor white fly problem, you might want to try releasing lacewings or minute pirate bugs, both available through the above suppliers.

Other control methods include yellow sticky traps - basically cardboard painted bright yellow and coated with mineral oil or petroleum jelly, and suspended near the tops of plants. Insecticidal soaps work well against white flies, too. Just be sure to spray both top and undersides of leaves. Insecticidal soaps can cause burning of leaves if applied during hot weather, so use caution.

Good luck in getting rid of those pesky pests!

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