Published on November 13th, 2019
Whitefly belongs to the Aleyrodidae family and Hemiptera insects. For many gardens, they are regarded as a major pest because they cause significant damage and making gardeners to have a loss in production.
They feed on the host plant by sucking the sap. They are polyphagous, meaning they feed on many distinct plants, representing a hazard to most crops, as well as feeding wild plants and weeds that function as a pest reservoir.
The whitefly’s complete life cycle takes between 15 to 40 days, based on environmental circumstances, especially temperature, as eggs become adults faster when the temperature is higher.
It is essential to call a professional exterminator; you can get pest control Greenboro NC, by local exterminators or anyone near you Usually, the whitefly lays its eggs on the bottom of the leaves, and the eggs are adhered to using the pedicel.
The larva or nymphs emerge from the eggs and are mobile enough to move along the leaf in their first stage of development until they find the right place to insert their stylus and start feeding off the sap of the sugar-rich phloem.
Then the nymphs go through several more developmental phases, during which they stay in the same area and proceed to feed off the plant until the adult arises from the last nymph stage. Non-fertilized eggs develop males while fertilized eggs produce females.
The molasses excreted by the nymphs allow fungi such as sooty mold (Capnodium sp.) to form on the leaves in terms of indirect damage. This mold functions as a screen and decreases the plant’s photosynthetic capacity.
However, the transmission of viruses is the most severe harm that the whitefly can cause to plants. These include TYLCV (Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus), ToCV (Tomato Chlorosis Crinivirus) or TYMV (Tomato Yellow Mosaic Virus).
How To Control The Whitefly From Your Garden
1. Sticky Trap Method
Sticky Traps. You can purchase or create your own sticky traps. Simply paint or dye in yellow cards, then apply a small dishwashing liquid and smear with a concoction of petroleum jelly cut. Hang up near the crops that are affected.
Whitefly loves the yellow color, and they are going to flock to the cards just to get stuck and die. Another excellent way to track whitefly populations early in the season is to hang up sticky traps. Make sure you do this instantly when you spot them.
2. Vacuum Method
A handheld vacuum can be very efficient in sucking up whitefly clouds from troubled leaves in a poor outbreak. Repeat for several days to start a semblance of control over an infestation.
3. Organic Insecticide Soap
Organic insecticide soap to make your own DIY insecticide soap, in a spray bottle, add a few drops of dishwashing liquid, and a squeeze of lemon juice, finally add water.
Shake well before you spray. It is now time to apply an organic insecticidal soap, again taking excellent care to cover all regions of the leaf including, importantly, those undersides.
Spray at a cooler period of the day and follow up a couple of days later with one or two more sprays. There are plenty of recipes for homemade insecticide soaps.
The problem with homemade sprays is that their strength differs dramatically, and they are not always as harmless as they appear, pushing away whitefly predators as well.
4. Mulching Method
Mulch with reflective aluminum mulch early in the season, particularly when it gets to tomatoes and peppers. The reflective mulch makes finding their host crops difficult for whiteflies.
5. Beauveria Bassiana Sprays
(BotaniGard, BioCeres) are efficient for continuous whiteflies control in personal gardens or commercial production. They use the fungus to slow down the feeding / reproducing process and destroy infected pests.
The use of biorational control sprays also helps to reduce environmental impacts on non-target species such as bees and pollinators.
6. Slashing Method
Start with a nice, powerful blast from your hose to push the whitefly off your crops and get to the floor where they will die. Blast all regions of the leaf, particularly the undersides where they gather mostly.