Controlling White Flies

birdlady_in_mesa(z9 AZ)January 1, 2013

AZTREELOVER has been kind enough to compile this information. Thanks Cathy!

Controlling White Flies in the Garden

The adult whiteflies you see flying around are not causing the problems on your landscape plants. It's the larvae that do the feeding, using their piercing/sucking mouthparts to sip fluid from cells. A spray of water will help knock the larvae off the leaves.

To intercept the adults before they can lay eggs, try this. For some reason, adult whiteflies can't resist the color yellow. You can purchase whitefly sticky traps (yes, they are yellow), or you can make your own. Use yellow plastic plates and staple to a wooden stake. Coat the plate with something sticky like petroleum jelly or a product like Tanglefoot (very sticky - like fly paper goo). Place your yellow plate near your lantana and voila! It will soon be covered with adult whiteflies.

Whiteflies have many natural enemies lurking in your garden - but you may not see them unless you know what to look for. Whitefly numbers increase rapidly when these enemies have been disturbed or destroyed by pesticides, dust buildup, or other factors. General predators include lacewings, bigeyed bugs, and minute pirate bugs and tiny, non-stinging predatory wasps which parasitize whitefly larvae. Hummingbirds catch the adult whiteflies in mid-air.

Controlling ants near your plants may help as well. Ants actually protect the whitefly larvae because they produce sugar-laden 'honeydew' which the ants relish. Use ant baits to control them and this will leave the whiteflies vulnerable to other natural enemies.

Good luck!

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