Whitefly Control – A Potential Threat to Ornamental Plants
What are Whiteflies?
Whiteflies are one of the common pest problems that pose a threat to your lovely ornamental plants both in the greenhouse and outdoors. About 1500 whitefly varieties are found worldwide. They belong to the group of aphids and scales.
The tiny insects not only damage the plant by feeding on them but also transmit various hazardous viruses that result in killing the plant. Once summer arrives, whiteflies reproduce rapidly and intensify the infestations.
Which plants are prone to Whitefly infestation?
Redbud, Fuchsia, Hibiscus, Coffeeberry, Rose and Jerusalem cherry.
Types of Whiteflies
The three primary types of Whiteflies are:
- Sweetpotato Whitefly
- Citrus Whitefly
- Ficus Whitefly
Life Cycle of Whiteflies
- Adult whiteflies vary in size from 1 to 3mm. Their wings are covered with a powdery substance, which gives them the appearance of small white moths.
- Each female whitefly lays up to 400 eggs towards the lower surface of the leaf. The eggs range from yellow to purple. These eggs hatch in 1-3 weeks.
- Post hatching, the young nymphs crawl on the plant for a few days and then settle down to feed.
- They feed by inserting their needle-like mouthparts into the plant tissue and remain motionless until maturity.
- Whiteflies feed by puncturing the plant tissue and sucking the fluid.
- The leaves of the infected plant become pale and show spots, as these pests feed on the underside.
- Often the whitefly infestation goes unnoticed until the plant shows significant signs of distress.
- Whiteflies just like the mealy bugs, aphids and soft scale excrete honeydew, a sugary substance. Sooty mould or black fungus grows on the honeydew. This fungus stunts the plant growth disturbs photosynthesis and causes the leaves to drop. Read about how to get rid of mealy bugs?
- Once the infestation is controlled, sooty mould disappears.
- Note that ants too are fond of honeydew. Thus, if your plants are attacked by ants, check them thoroughly.
Know more about natural anti fungal remedies for fungus control.
How Can You Control Whiteflies?
- Controlling whiteflies in the initial stages is difficult as the eggs, and insects in their nascent stages are resistant to many insecticides.
- You can opt for insect growth regulators like neoprene, pyriproxyfen, azadirachtin, diflubenzuron, and fenoxycarb.
- Go for growth regulators and conventional insecticides.
- Control before populations build. Use insecticidal soap and horticultural oil.
Other measures to prevent the whitefly attack:
- Inspect your plants carefully
- Provide ideal growing conditions. A healthy plant will keep insects away
- Destroy all the crop that is infected with virus
- Use short-season varieties and plant either during the spring and late in the fall to avoid high infestations
- Avoid planting next to the plants that are already infested with whitefly
- Delay growing new plants until whitefly migration has diminished
- Adopt spraying methods and equipment that improve coverage, specifically cover areas underneath leaves.
What are the Whitefly remedies available at Ugaoo?
Spray any one of the following Insecticides on infested plants:
Were your plants infested by Whiteflies? What did you do to get rid of these notorious pests?