Pest Control - Knowledgebase Question

Lake Jackson, Te
Avatar for slmcnabb
Question by slmcnabb
August 13, 2010
There are small white flecks on the leaves of several of my plants, primarily my hibicus. It looks like dandruff. On occassion I have seen a tiny white bug fly around the plants. My hibicus are no longer blooming. What is this and how can I treat it. Thanks!!

Answer from NGA
August 13, 2010
The specks are probably whitefly insects and while they can damage leaves and flower buds with their feeding, their presence is probably not keeping your hibiscus from flowering. Hibiscus flowers when the temperatures are just right. When it's too hot they take a few week's rest before developing flower buds. I think you'll see new flowers in a few short weeks.

Whiteflies can be a terrible nuisance, especially on hibiscus. Wherever there are populations of bad bugs (whiteflies), there's a population of good bugs (such as lace wings) waiting in the wings - providing you don't kill the good guys off with insecticides! When the natural balance of predators is exterminated, whitefly populations can soar. Insecticidal soap is your best defense, but the application must be thorough (undersides of leaves, especially lower leaves, and all the stems), and repeat applications are necessary. If you'd rather not spray, you can release some lace wing insects or minute pirate bugs, to recapture the balance and eliminate the whiteflies. Patience and persistence will give you the upperhand in dealing with whitefly pests. Best of luck in your garden!

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