The Q&A Archives: Giant White Flies

Question: How do I get rid of giant white flies on vegetable plants such as tomatoes, string beans, eggplants, and chayote?

Answer: It could be that your 'giant whiteflies' are aphids. Both whiteflies and aphids suck the juices out of plant tissues. Whiteflies are difficult to control because they fly away whenever they're disturbed. You can try making sticky traps and mounting the traps in or near the foliage of your plants. Use bright yellow cardboard or paper and coat both sides with petroleum jelly or a commercial product called 'Tanglefoot'. Hang or mount the traps in or near the infested plants. Whiteflies will be attracted to the color yellow, and will become stuck when they land on the surface of the trap. Replace traps as necessary. Aphids are soft-bodied insects and will fly away, but not as readily as whiteflies. You can squish the aphids between your thumb and finger, or hose them off the plants with a strong stream of water. As a last resort, you can use an Insecticidal Soap to kill the aphids.

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