White Fly Control - Knowledgebase Question

El Cajon, CA
Question by johnmart0
November 20, 1997
My garden suffered badly this summer with white flies. I've heard that there is a wasp that will feed on white flies. Can you give me some information on this?


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Answer from NGA
November 20, 1997

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There are a number of biological controls that you can try to get rid of white flies. Depending on whether the infestation is inside a greenhouse, or out in the garden, there are several natural enemies that you can purchase to help control the white flypopulation.

The wasp you've heard of is probably Encarsia formosa, a predacious wasp that is released inside greenhouses to control white flies. The wasps are available through: American Insectaries, Escondido, (619) 751-1436, Applied Bio-Control, (209) 874-1862, and Beneficial Insectary, (800) 477-3715.

If 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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