Noticing your plants aren’t looking as healthy as they should? You may have a whitefly infestation on your hands. These nuisance pests are prevalent throughout South Florida since they can overwinter and reproduce throughout the year, and they feed on both outdoor and indoor plants. Here’s how to identify a whitefly infestation, and how you can get rid of these damaging pests once and for all.
What Are Whiteflies?
Whiteflies are tiny, soft-bodied, winged insects that are similar to aphids and mealybugs—two other harmful pests that are common throughout Florida. They’re white in color and somewhat triangular in shape. Typically, you’ll find whiteflies grouped in clusters on the underside of leaves. They can rapidly reproduce outdoors in early summer as the weather gets warm and humid, and they snack on a white variety of plants in your garden—from ornamental flowers to warm-weather vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and okra.
How to Identify Whiteflies
If your plants are becoming weak and the leaves start wilting or turning pale or yellow, a whitefly infestation may be to blame. Check the underside of the leaves of your plants not just for these tiny white bugs, but also for the honeydew they leave behind. This sticky substance often leads to fungal diseases on leaves, including sooty mold. If you find honeydew on your plants’ leaves, it’s a good indication that whiteflies have been feeding for several days and you’re likely dealing with an infestation.
How to Get Rid of Whiteflies
There are various methods of controlling whiteflies, but most of them only work if you catch the infestation very early. Whiteflies reproduce rapidly, so it can be hard to stay on top of an infestation before these pesky insects do damage to every plant in your yard. Here are some DIY whitefly control methods to try:
- Start by blasting whiteflies with your watering hose. This often causes them to scatter, and it may dislodge nymphs and eggs to an extent.
- Apply insecticidal soap on the leaves of your plants, making sure to follow all manufacturer’s directions. Spray the underside of leaves and re-apply two to three times if necessary. Remember that it’s best to spray plants in the evenings since applying during the heat of the day can do damage to plants. Spraying in the evening also helps you avoid accidentally spraying beneficial insects, like whitefly natural predators and pollinators.
- Use a simple mixture of dish soap and water and spray the plants late in the day. This benign combination can help keep whitefly populations low without doing damage to your plants.
Whitefly Control Isn’t a DIY Job
Once whiteflies have set up shop in your yard, they’re nearly impossible to get rid of. That’s where the whitefly control experts at Service Choice of West Palm Beach can help. Using eco-friendly treatment methods—including preservation of natural predators—we can eliminate even the most widespread whitefly infestations and keep them from returning. Call us today at (561) 734-9269 to schedule your free consultation!