- Posted by haggerty
- On December 18, 2012
- boca raton, infestations, insecticides, natural predators, pest control, whiteflies
Whiteflies aren’t actually flies, but belong to the family of insects that includes mealybugs, scales and aphids. With relatives like that, no wonder they claim to be flies, instead. The whitefly targets many of the plants you prize most: Houseplants, outdoor ornamentals and greenhouse plants are the most frequent victims, but many other outdoor species are also affected.
It’s easy to spot an infestation early on. A swarm of disturbed flies disperses like a miniature snowstorm.
The common whitefly kills your plants by sucking the juice out of them. A plant under attack gradually turns yellow and stunted, then dies. Just like their aphid cousins, whiteflies secrete waste material called honeydew that encourages the growth of toxic mold, another threat to plants.
Up north, the first freeze of the year takes care of whitefly infestations. Here in south Florida, however, DIY methods for controlling whiteflies may be helpful with limited numbers. Here are some techniques to help control these pests.
Mechanical removal. Picking off flies early in the morning when they are sluggish is time-consuming but can be effective if you have only a few plants under attack. A hand-held, battery operated vacuum cleaner is a better idea for sucking up nesting flies and their larvae in larger number. Put the collected flies in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer overnight to kill them.
Biological control. A number of beneficiary insects kill the whitefly. A single ladybug will consume 1,000 whitefly eggs during its life span. Green lacewings, a variety of moth, are commonly used by gardeners to control aphids and also voraciously consume whitefly eggs. Where there are outdoor infestations, some songbirds such as swallows eat whiteflies, too.
Chemical control. These flies have demonstrated an ability to become resistant to many consumer-grade insecticides. However, some over-the-counter products that may be effective include insecticidal soap, neem oil, pyrethrins and malathion.
Haggerty Pest Control has served south Florida since 1985, with an on-time guarantee, the most effective products and a can-do attitude. Call us now if whiteflies are threatening your favorite plants.
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