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PunkRotten
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Whiteflies

Hi,

today I noticed some whiteflies all over a leaf. What should I do to get rid of them? I was thinking about some kind of spray. I read you can vacuum them up. Might try that too.

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rainbowgardener
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Vacuuming works pretty well for the adults, especially if you do it early in the morning when it is still cool out, so they are less mobile. Not sure how well it works for eggs, so you might have to keep doing it for a while.

Neem oil works pretty well against them, or you can make your own oil spray by mixing 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid detergent with 1 cup of cooking oil; add 1 tablespoon of this solution to 1 cup of water and spray it.

You can also use a garlic-pepper spray on them. Type that into Search the Forum and you will get lots of recipes.

You didn't say whether this is an indoor leaf or an outdoor leaf. For indoors, you definitely need to deal with the whiteflies or it will become a major infestation. For outdoors, you could just keep spraying them off with water for awhile and monitoring the situation and other plants. A few whiteflies outdoors are not a big deal.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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PunkRotten
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Yes it is outdoors. I vacuumed up some adults yesterday. There doesn't seem to be many of them, yet. There is one main leaf they were at and I inspected other leaves and other plants near by and I found a few random spots (like 3-4 spots) that had that white residue they leave behind. But there were no bugs.

Dr. Worm
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Whiteflies are attracted to bright yellow color. Yellow sticky traps or tape should do the trick for control if you don't want to use a spray.

They love hanging out on the undersides of leaves, so if you do use a spray make sure to get the undersides. :wink:

greenstubbs
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rainbowgardener wrote: A few whiteflies outdoors are not a big deal.
Sorry to rain on your parade Rainbow, but they are a very big deal for us in Ca. and anybody that tells you otherwise is a fool and doesn't know what they are talkiing about! My neighbor had a Whitefly infestation that they said was no big deal that turn into a major problem for 3 of my other neighbors and damm near made a diaster out of my yard and garden. It got so bad that I had to get the county involved to intervene to get it under control.
PUNK- Are you sure they are white flies? They produce a silk like beard on the bottom of leafs with white specks which are eggs. Get things under control like yesterday, ASAP! They can and will get outta control real quick! The only thing that kills them is a deep freeze for a few days, we don't have that luxury where we live. GOOGLE white flies and read up bigtime about how to eradicate them, they are no laughing matter that needs serious attention as they can ruin alot of crops and other plants as well.

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Kisal
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A thorough spraying with soap and water solution will kill the juveniles. Spray thoroughly every 5 to 7 days. Continue the spray regimen for a few weeks after there are no more adults seen, because there will still be eggs hatching out.
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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PunkRotten
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I vacuumed up the adults. And I checked the leaves. They were only on a few leaves and so far I don't see anymore. But I still check to make sure. Once I saw they were whiteflies I jumped on it quick. I was reading online that taking action immediately is crucial.

OrganicTexasMama
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Will things like neem and garlic-pepper sprays detract beneficial insects, too?

I lost a lovely cucumber plant to white flies and they attacked my watermelon heavily, as well. I lost one watermelon plant but one has survived and started really thriving as the temperatures have dropped (it was around 110° here this summer, which is well above average). It's in a container but now really thriving. Unfortunately, I noticed more infestation today while checking on our October watermelon that's growing well. I also found, though, a lone ladybug (we had released a whole bag of them in July, but they quickly disappeared) and something that I'm hoping is a baby ladybug.

I have sprayed neem/soap solutions on these plants in the past, but they were all so big that it was really difficult to get all the undersides without killing my hand (which would be dripping with soapy solution and stink forever thanks to the neem!). I was looking into getting a better sprayer (rather than just a spray bottle) and then it seemed like maybe neem wouldn't really help too much. And, I worried that it might have chased off the ladybugs, too.

We lost a ton of previously healthy cukes to those horrid things and I'm afraid to go planting new crops for the fall unless I can somehow get them under control. I'd love to know how best to do that when they are clearly running rampant in this neighborhood.
~ OrganicTexasMama, newly entering the world of organic container gardening

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Kisal
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Whitefly adults are almost impossible to kill with sprays. They fly into the air at the least disturbance. You can vacuum them, as others have suggested. The juveniles can be killed by spraying with a soap solution, or any other contact insecticide. Whiteflies and their juveniles feed by piercing the plants and sucking the juices, not by chewing on the plant tissues. So, surface insecticides, that must be ingested, won't have any effect on them.

If you have a large number of plants to treat, you would do well to purchase an actual garden sprayer. I have a small 10 gal model that has to have the pressure pumped by hand. Once the pressure is up, the spray wand is controlled by a trigger that is simply held down to spray and released to stop. There are many sizes and types of sprayers. You have to shop around to find one that fits your budget and is right for the amount of spraying you need to do. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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rainbowgardener
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Ladybugs will eat eggs and larvae of whiteflies, but not adults. So the timing of releasing the ladybugs has to be right. If they don't find food fairly easily when they are released, they leave.

Neem oil is not a contact poison. It works more like a hormone disrupter or something, and only works when ingested. So it is mainly only harmful to leaf eating insects, who ingest it when chewing on leaves. And it does not kill them on the spot like poison would, but messes up their systems and makes it impossible for them to eat or mate, so eventually they die.

If sprayed directly on the bees, the Neem, like any oil including salad oil, can smother them by clogging up their breathing passages, so it is recommended to do your spraying early in the AM or late in the evening when the bees are not active.

Re the garlic-pepper spray, it depends a bit on your recipe, how concentrated and how you use it. The garlic is mainly a repellant that makes things smell and taste bad to the insects. If you avoid spraying it on flowers in bloom, it will not harm the honeybees. The pepper, if concentrated, can be more directly harmful, but again most of those effects would be if directly sprayed on the insect, so use when bees are not active.

The idea with any spray, including organics, is not to go out and spray your whole garden. You want to notice where the pests are congregating and spray there.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

bangstrom
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Re: Whiteflies

I have had good luck with a simple homemade whitefly trap. I took an old yellow plastic mixing bowl and coated the inside with a thin layer of some incredibly sticky stuff called “Tree Tanglefootâ€

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