White flies - Knowledgebase Question

Gulfport, Fl
Avatar for landjgp
Question by landjgp
September 27, 2010
My plants are infested with a very small white fly. It does not leave a residue on the underside of the plant leaves and seems to also live in the soil. I have tried several spray products from my local HD but it seems to diminish the amounts somewhat but nothing seems to eradicate them. What can I try?

Answer from NGA
September 27, 2010
It sounds like your plants are being attacked by whiteflies, which are about 1/16th of an inch long and fly on powdery white wings; characteristically they will fly away all at once when disturbed. They are sucking insects and lay their eggs on the undersides of the leaves. A light infestation will probably not hurt your plants, but they can multiply rapidly in warm weather and will attack many types of plants so you may wish to try to control them to some extent. You can hand pick any egg masses you find, then spray with insecticidal soap being sure to follow the label directions carefully. You will need to spray several times to control subsequent hatchings; be sure to cover the undersides of the leaves thoroughly. Another method of non-chemical control is to place yellow "sticky traps" at about the same height as the leaves. If the pests do not fly away when you touch them, they are aphids and insecticidal soap will do them in, as well.

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