The Q&A Archives: whiteflies

Question: I have a white fly problem in my yard. They are damaging all my container plants; tomato, citrus, lettuce, strawberries, peppers, geraniums, lemon balm and spearmints. I have placed a yellow sticky trap on one side of the garden. The number of whiteflies caught on it are many but more are still flying around, not to mention their eggs and nymphs that have implanted themselves in the stems and leaves of all my container plants.

What else can I do to have some control over these pests? I have a cat and dog that play in my yard. How can I solve the whitefly problem without harming them or the beneficial insects that live in my garden?

Answer: Whiteflies are extremely difficult to control. Yellow sticky traps are effective, but you'll need to place several all over the garden, preferrably one on or near each affected plant. Since you have pets, you'll want to use something that won't bother them. You can spray insecticidal soap when whiteflies are resting - early morning or late afternoon is best. Or, you can spray with pyrethrin. Pyrethrin is an organic pesticide made from chrysanthemums. There are also chemical controls for whiteflies. The most important aspect of controlling these pests is to be diligent about spraying (follow label directions). Repeat sprays will take care of the adults, nymphs and eggs. These biocontrols won't harm beneficial insects.

Best wishes with your whitefly eradication project!

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