Pathfinder
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war against the white fly

Hey guys, I've been bothering you with a lot of questions the past weeks, Now that I thought about it, checked on my baby okra plants which are planted in the garden not containers like the others and was happy to see 4 buds with an okra plant having 3 big leaves only !! it means they are well fed !! came to check on them today and the biggest bud turned yellow, touched it and it fell off like a feather, I lifted the 3 leaves and it was swarming with white flies.

These flies are sucking the juice out of everything, even that tomato planted in the garden which I posted a pic of its yellow unopened flower that fell and I thought it was over-watering, well I guess it all match up now.

My tomatoes, peppers, eggplants were stunned, I ruined two tomato plants by over-watering them, over-feeding them thinking they're lacking nutrition, thinking organic can't produce but it turned out to be the WHITE FLY !!

If the climate is right, if your soil is well drained, if you're feeding your plants organically with compost tea, nettle feed, fish emulsion and your plants aren't producing, feeling slow ... then don't be confused by overfeeding, over-watering them .....it's THE WHITE FLY !!

so far I've tried:

1) dish soap ( heavily concentrated may have included chemicals ) ==> white flies would die, some flee, when soapy water evaporates they return
2) tried the yellow carton ( a big one ) ==> no serious effect, 2-4 flies glued.
3) water jetting them same as 1)

The only options I have yet to try before I surrender are: garlic spray, planting dill <== if you guys have other options please do join the war with me.
I've landed on this video on youtube, I hope one of you can guess what made the white flies flee the pepper plants of this nice guy ( mhpgardener ), alright he's a redneck so don't make fun of his accent. ^____^


imafan26
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Re: war against the white fly

white flies are pretty pesticide resistant. Please put your location and zone in your profile, it makes it easier if we know where you are from.

You can jet the white flies off with water. They usually have favorite host plants like peppers, Check around the yard , they like ornamental plants and weeds too.. If you have white fly magnets and they tolerate it, cut them back to the ground. That is what I do with hibiscus. Other plants you cannot cut down you can use horticultural oil (if your temperature does not exceed 80 degrees in the day. ) or insecticidal soap (test some plants are sensitive, my pepper leaves will curl if I use insecticidal soap on them and don't rinse it off after 15 minutes). Yellow or blue sticky traps help.

Whenever I water, I jet the water under the leaves of the peppers and the host plants I know of. I also plant corn, dwarf french and African marigolds, fennel, and sunflowers. They will attract the lady bugs and in the end the lady bugs take care of the white flies. In the meantime, I avoid using the pesticides since they kill the beneficial insects faster than the bad ones. I cut back hibiscus and pull the host weeds. I spot treat the plants I cannot cut or pull. I like to use a sponge dawn and water and I wipe the leaves. It does not kill the adults but it gets rid of the nymphs. Peppers, I only jet with water everyday. If the white flies are annoyed enough they go somewhere else.
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Re: war against the white fly

you already know my zone, it is similar to yours but I don't live in hawaii, I live in the middle east

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Re: war against the white fly

Yes, whiteflies are a more serious problem in warm climates where they can breed year around. In cold winter areas like mine, they are stopped by the winter and don't really appear again in quantity until well into the summer.

One of the things that I think was mentioned to you earlier was just vacuuming them off the plants. It's pretty effective because you can vaccuum up larvae and nymphs as well.

Neem oil should be an effective spray against them.

Here's a little article on whitefly control: https://www.motherearthnews.com/organic- ... z34ARtpHKH

and as always you want diversified plantings with the kind of nectar flowers that attract parasitic wasps and other beneficial insects.
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Re: war against the white fly

as you know rainbowgardener most of my plants are in containers, I sowed some dills yesterday, 4 seeds in each container, not growing them for the dill but for ladybugs to come by.

Neem oil might burn the leaves, the plants are already stunned, wouldn't oil act like a magnifying glass on the leaves too ?!

Vacuuming them is a little dangerous, it can destroy the leaves, especially the peppers.

would a plant recover if white flies disappear, or it is done for ?! does anyone know how much time until it recovers, like before the end of the season ?! we're in June.

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Re: war against the white fly

I am going to use silver mulch tomorrow, gonna try tin foil first, Leslie Doyle has a Youtube video about it. I hope it works and the white flies ( vampires ) just leave when they see silver :twisted:

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Re: war against the white fly

alright guys, looks like aluminum foil has solved 50 % of the problem. silver color does confuse the white flies, even spider mites become slower when they descend on the foil after I shake the plant and by slower, ant slow ... yes I can squish them.

Aluminum works best on peppers and tomatoes, eggplants not that much, maybe because their leaves are dense or need a different color of reflective mulch

However, the other 50% of the whitefly problem that remains is that those vampires are now residing on the upper leaves, the fresh new ones. After further observation, I think it's because the reflection doesn't reach the upper leaves or the leaves that reach outside of the container.

So if you are planting in beds be sure to cover all the bed with aluminum foil or silver mulch even the unplanned areas.

Which leads me to my question, I am overseeing two solution:

1- put some 2 inch square cartons with foil glued on both sides and hang them in a similar way to the traps on the upper leaves.

2- coat all the leaves with SLIGHTLY diluted molasses that become sticky on THE UNDERSIDE OF LEAVES and BUDs (flower stalk ), Will that affect transpiration ?! yes or no ?!

please answer

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applestar
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Re: war against the white fly

Sounds great that the silver/reflective mulch worked! :D

Let's see... I think the molasses idea has too many issues. Blocking transpiration is a possibility and concern,but I would be more worried that the solution would attract ants and then they will start herding the whiteflies.

The most I've ever done with whiteflies outside is to stroke the tops of the plants with sudsy hands. Whiteflies congregate on upper foliage and fly up when disturbed as you described, so gently running sudsy hands disturb them and make them stick to the suds. I use a bucket to plunge my hands and forearms in, do one section at a time followed almost immediately with water hose to spray off the suds which is more concentrated than soapy water spray.

I've used cordless vacuum cleaners on them too -- they are gentler than the house cleaning corded ones, but enough for sucking up flying insects.

In the house, I vacuum with hose wand of the vacuum cleaner -- use side of the wand to disturb to make them fly up, then suck up any in the air. And put the entire plant container in the kitchen sink or shower to use soap and oil solution (insecticidal soap) spray and then use sink sprayer or shower to rinse off.
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Re: war against the white fly

I have a baby plant that I will sacrifice for the sake of this experiment, why ?! because it is simply swarming with whiteflies so they are massacring it as we speak. I will try the molasses thing and see what happens.

You might think I am stubborn but trust me I tried this soap and then rinsed with water, but my plants are outside in containers so even if I kill them, others will return the next day, I've been soaping and rinsing for 4 days now, no change, but burning more leaves.

just for the fun of it, I took this very same baby plant and wrapped the container with a plastic bag exposing the shoot part only and DROWNED IT in a barrel of water for 3-4 minutes. I took it off and the WHITE FLIES that were on the leaves DIDN'T DIE !!! .... they know how to swim too can you believe it !!!!!!!!!!!! ?!??!?!

Why would ants herd the white fly, I don't mind the ants stealing molasses as long as they will eat the white flies sticking on the molasses itself. what do you think ?

by the way, I was visited by 2 small praying mantis one of the eggplant the other on the tomato but I don't think they're fast enough to catch the whiteflies, I left them be anyway.

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Re: war against the white fly

The ants herd the larvae and praying mantis will eat the larvae too.

Ants will shepherd any sucking insect -- aphids, scales, whiteflies -- they bring them to my overwintering plants inside. Sucking insects produce "honeydew" sweet substance that the ants milk from them. Ants will move them from leaf to leaf and plant to plant, and protect them from predators. I watched a swarm of ants bite and knock a ladybug off a plant. They do this enough times and the ladybug will start avoiding the plant.

Soap and then rinse helps to get the pests off the plants better. Remember insects use surface tension of water to help them repel water (and float) and soap destroys surface tension.

Small plants can be dunked upside down in a bucket or container of soapy water (wrap the container and soil to keep from falling out). I also use large beverage cups of soapy water that I dunk and swish individual leaves in. Overall better than spraying.

You can add a drop of oil (blocks the breathing pores of insects) and/or alcohol (penetrates waxy coating -- this might have been the problem -- and dehydrates soft bodied ones like aphids and whitefly larvae) to the soap solution, too. You have to shake well to emulsify in this case.
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Re: war against the white fly

you seem to be pretty knowledgeable with the netherworld ^______^ so they will cooperate together .... damn !!

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Re: war against the white fly

I tried the vacuum cleaner today, truth it is a tedious job on tomatoes and peppers but a breeze on eggplants ( which is swarming with WF)
I was so happy on sweeping them that I turned devilish, seeing them trapped in the vaccum cleaner, mine doesn't have a bag, only a small area, so what I will do is plug the nose of the vacuum and suffocate them, let them suffer .... tomorrow I will assist my eggplant like a brave knight,, DIE DIE MY WHITE FLY !!

Bwahahahhahhahhahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

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Re: war against the white fly

White flies are being taken care of by my beneficial insect patrol, ie purple ladybugs. The hibiscus has grown back and it is presently white fly free. The vacuum cleaner idea is amusing, I can just picture it. All I use is water.
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Re: war against the white fly

Well the only beneficial who visited me were 1 small praying mantis on the eggplant and another on my struggling tomato, some spiders visit along but then disappear when the sun rises and spider russet mites love to visit the tomato which is why I spray epsom salts in the even that contain sulfur.

as for using only water, it seems your area doesn't have a lot of white flies because water is a matter of illusion, its effect only lasts as long as you're holding the hose or sprayer when you get bored they will return, unless the species of white flies that I have is more stubborn than the ones you have.

so far aluminum foil mulch is helping but reflective silver mulch is more professional because the home aluminum foil does shred and crinkles so it loses its effectiveness to rebound UV light.

Vaccum is working on eggplants thx to the flat leaves, I coated yesterday the underside of the tomato with sunflower oil since it does tolerate heat better than olive oil until I could put my hands on some neem.

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Re: war against the white fly

There are white flies they were all over the place last year. I just found some today on someone else's peppers. One of my other friends has the same problem you have the white flies are attacking everything. He lives in a townhouse and has a small garden and it is wall to wall plants. I have no winters to kill off bugs here so they are pretty much around most of the time although they come and go throughout the year.

I also have wall to wall plants, but I guess I am lucky, I did have white flies earlier in the year, but if I have them now, they aren't making too much of an impact.

I am definitely not pest free, I have quite a few Thrips, erineum gall mites on the hibiscus, black spot and scale on roses, snails and slugs, ants, citrus aphids (not all the time), plumeria rust, birds, downy and powdery mildews. I even had a white cabbage butterfly find my broccoli and kale (but it didn't stay for long). I only treat with fungicides for prevention, I did have to use systemic rose care on the hibiscus, and Amy Yoshioka gardenia, but I just cut the roses back and pulled out Robert Strauss which was impossible to keep the black spot off. The roses in the back yard except for Mr. Lincoln are weeds, nothing bothers them. The less I do, the better control I have. My worst problems are the snail and slugs which I actually actively treat with slug bait. I just planted corn which will help more with any white flies I may have around. Now, I have to go and throw out some basil that have downy mildew again and pull some zucchini leaves that are starting to show downy mildew too.
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Re: war against the white fly

I'll have to follow your white fly adventures. I've made a serious effort at companion gardening this year. They have not hit me yet but I just don't know how well this will work. Most years I see clouds of these guys flying around, even in parking lots. All I know is we need more of whatever eats them and whatever plants they don't like to be around.

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Re: war against the white fly

I used a small hand vacuum and vacuumed them up when some were on a chile plant of mine. It worked out.

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Re: war against the white fly

PunkRotten wrote:I used a small hand vacuum and vacuumed them up when some were on a chile plant of mine. It worked out.
One or two times doesn't cut it, it depends on the zone really, for me I have concluded that my zone is heavily infested, so since yesterday I keep charging my cordless vacuum. Reflective mulch helps, I believe because it reflects the light and the white flies hide under the leaves to get shade.

I checked on my sole eggplant praying mantis and found out that it got bigger in size, however, I haven't seen it eat any of the white flies, I hope at least its eating the larvae.

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Re: war against the white fly

@imafan26,

Just for the noting, I have found WF on my Onions greens, on my garlic greens and the basil was the most plant swarming with WF ... so garlic, onion, pepper, basil even parsley spray doesn't affect the white fly it is all bogus.

Gonna try and buy some powder cinnamon or oregano pack from the mall and do a cinnamon/oregano spray with citrus and see if it can camouflage the smell of the tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.

Just a question, does Epsom salt contains sulfur that can treat russet spider mites ?
Do I have to buy separate sulfur to control the mites ?
If so how much do I have to dilute ?! foliar or drench feeding ?!
Does it affect the white flies ?!

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Re: war against the white fly

I had a hatch of them in my strawberries a week ago. I went out and soaked them with neem oil in between rains a couple times and they haven't come back so far.

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Re: war against the white fly

White flies have a two year predator prey cycle. This is the second year of their cycle here. They were very bad last year and while they are still around this year and have pretty much peak numbers now, it is still better than last year.

They are extremely pesticide resistant. A product of how to build a better bug.

They are ultimately controlled by their predators. The best one here is an imported purple lady bug. Believe me everyone laughed when the state Ag dept decided to release a total of 9 ladybugs to control millions of white flies. There were even jokes about the fat lady bugs, but they multiplied and naturalized and they work. They aren't as nice as the nine spotted ladybugs though, these guys bite.

https://www.biconet.com/biocontrol/delphastus.html

The white fly population rises more lady bugs are born to eat the white flies. When the population of ladybugs starts to exceed the supply of white fly food, the lady bug population declines and the white fly slowly recovers and the cycle begins a gain.

That is why, I choose to use water and cut back the common hosts rather than spray. I grow corn, because I like to eat corn but also because corn is the best attractor I know of for the purple ladybugs at least in my yard. The state does not allow the import of predators here, not even beneficial nematodes. Besides, ladybugs follow the food. Even if you buy them, they will only hang around if they have water, habitat and food.

I limit spraying so as not to kill beneficial insects and especially the predatory mites and parasitic wasps, and hover flies.
I will have to use bait for slugs and snails because I don't have a toad, not that I really want one. I do have to fungicide but I try to select cultivars with disease resistance whenever possible.

It is probably why I don't have as much of a problem with white flies. I know which plants are the preferred hosts and I check them for the first signs of problems. I cut back the host plants if they can take it and use water on light infestations. I let the predators take care of the rest and I try not to kill them.

https://ucipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7401.html
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Re: war against the white fly

ok praying mantis became huge, 6 inches, slow moving, I don't know what's eating but definitely not WF, in the morning I saw the very same leaf it was hanging to swarming with WF, so far, I have been vacuuming and the next morning I see more of them, I am assisting my eggplants everyday thx to its flat leaves, tomatoes not so much, leaves are curled downwards and brittle (russet mites maybe ) but thx to that the WF are finding a good hideout, when trying to vacuum the leaves break
Also peppers though having a flat leaf but present some difficulties due to smaller leaves.

I haven't improvised any new tactics yet and the vegetable oil burned some of the leaves.

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Re: war against the white fly

relation between the WF and leaf miners ?

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Re: war against the white fly

I've got WF covering my tomato plants, but they're not touching my peppers. I'm starting to see some signs of their habitation on my leaves. I've seen dill mentioned on here, but I have some within 10 feet of my tomato plants and it doesn't seem to help. Being that it's reached summer here in Mississippi, it's going to be hard for me to spray anything other than water on the leaves. It sure would be nice if there was an easier solution other than using a vacuum :D

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Re: war against the white fly

If you are not spraying, then take advantage and try to encourage beneficial insects to join the Garden Patrol.

No relationship between WF and LM except that when a plant is weakened it sends out a signal that pest insects respond to and they flock to dine on the weak.

If you are not worried about trapping the your own troops in the Garden Patrol, then sticky traps could help.
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Re: war against the white fly

@Applestar, thanks for replying, it is strange though, I thought LM are the result of WF.
Where does leaf miners come from then?!

@Bovina_Beas, How are your tomatoes doing ?! are they bearing any fruits ?! The past 2 days the temperature reached above 90 so I noticed an upraise in the number of WF on my eggplants and tomatoes, even though the previous day I had cleaned them with the vacuum until the last one.

I sprayed concentrated Epsom Salts on the leaves of my peppers, tomatoes and eggplants for sulfur and still it has no effect of the WF ... it is tedious to do it on tomatoes and peppers without breaking their delicate leaves, on eggplants it is an easy job to vacuum.

These WF are a true challenge and they are the real reason why plants take longer to reach maturity and bear fruits, I very doubt the temperature for bloom drop, I think it is the WF.

Reflective mulch for containers is limited solution, once the plant shoot exceeds the space of the container, it becomes useless, WF will visit again.
Also when in the morning, the WF number is low, when the sun hits the plants and the higher the heat, the number increases. One behavior I noticed, is that if you a light under the leaves they will flee.

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Re: war against the white fly

There are a whole bunch of different leafminers, citrus leafminers, holly leafminers, vegetable leafminers, etc. So they can be larvae of different adults, but I think most often flies (not whiteflies).

Adults (1/10 inch long) are often black to gray flies with yellow stripes and clear wings. They are similar in appearance to small, hunched-back house flies

Image
https://www.planetnatural.com/wp-content ... -crop1.jpg

Here's the life cycle of the whitefly. The nymphs of the whitefly are outside the leaf and look more like scale insects:

Image
https://www2.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfa ... ef456c.jpg
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Re: war against the white fly

@Pathfinder, I have 2 tomato plants that are being effected by this (Arkansas Traveler 76), but my other varieties aren't showing signs of being attacked. The other varieties aren't in the same bed though. In this bed I have the 2 tomatoes, 6 bell peppers, marigolds, and some basil. One of the plants only has a small number of bugs and is currently holding 6 tomatoes. The other plant had 2 small tomatoes show up, but they disappeared and the top was infested with WF. I made the decision yesterday to literally cut my losses and I chopped the top out of the plant. I must have carried off thousands of those bugs and led them to a painful death. :twisted:

I just found this link in the https://www.almanac.com/content/whitefliesfarmer's almanac. Has anyone tried this recipe:
In a 32-ounce spray bottle mix 2 parts rubbing alcohol, 5 parts water, and 1 tablespoon liquid soap. Spray the mixture on the foliage of garden plants that are susceptible to these pests.

Some of the other ideas I've seen reading around the web are:
- Earthworm castings
- A yellow cup with motor oil
- Russian KWAS

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Re: war against the white fly

I prefer to use edible kind of grease (like Crisco) rather than motor oil around edibles. Petroleum jelly is often recommended but I have something called UNpetroleum jelly so I use that.

But note that they melt -- become liquid -- too easily in the heat.

Some people have mentioned using double sided tape or sticky side out tape. I tried with duct tape but the adhesive wasn't strong enough -- at least for fungus gnats... But it could have been the brand. If you have different kinds of wide tape, you might try experimenting.
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Re: war against the white fly


Instant evolution in whiteflies: Just add bacteria
Date:
April 8, 2011
Source:
University of Arizona
Summary:
In a case of rapid evolution, bacteria have been found to give whiteflies -- crop-damaging insects of global importance -- an edge over their uninfected peers, new research suggests. In just 6 years, bacteria of the genus Rickettsia spread through a population of the sweet potato whitefly (Bemisia tabaci), an invasive pest of global importance. Infected insects lay more eggs, develop faster and are more likely to survive to adulthood compared to their uninfected peers.

Whiteflies come in many different species and variants within species called biotypes. Of those, none are considered as detrimental to agriculture as the "B Biotype" of the sweet potato whitefly, which originated in the Mediterranean.
OMG I have the worst kind, what is annoying is that there are many species and whenever I put the name on google, I get the same pictures, well those in the pics do look like the ones on my plants, yellow body white wings, they say the most dangerous are the silverleaf, there are greenhouse in my area, but could the silverleaf attack non-greenhouse plants like mine ?

There are some species that they say it is not detrimental


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Re: war against the white fly

Good read.
I'm trying companion gardening for about 10 months now.
No WFs yet and less than a dozen BMSBs.
Don't know if it's just luck or if it works. I'll keep it up though.

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Re: war against the white fly

I did find some white flies on my hibiscus again. and a few on the eggplant. None on the citrus or peppers. Since it was a light infestation and I have already cut back the hibiscus twice this year. I sprayed the top and undersides of the usual guys, the hibiscus, zucchini, cucumber, eggplant, peppers, tomato and roses.

I checked again today. The eggplant is currently clean. The hibiscus is cleaner but still had some visible white flies on them, so I hit it again with neem. It is not in bloom now, so it should not bother the bees. I'll check again and remove more of the heavily infested leaves. If that doesn't do the trick then the hibiscus will have to get the chop again. I jetted the undersides of the peppers and eggplant with water for insurance.

My corn is only 4 inches high right now, so it is too small to attract the ladybugs, but the other predators will still be on patrol.
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Re: war against the white fly

That was an interesting article. I'm picturing taking kitchen scraps -- carrot and potato peelings, radish and celery tops, maybe onion and garlic bottoms, pepper cores, etc. Maybe fruit scraps, too... orange skin, ... Herbs and spices..... and just making a slurry in the blender with water. Strain and dilute some more, and put that in a sprayer.a

I think as a trial, I would disturb them, get them flying off the plant first, then thoroughly spray tops and bottoms of the foliage. Try on one plant at first.

If you make the kitchen scrap slurry ad-hoc, the combination would be different each time and contribute to the disorienting small factor.

Are you going to experiment with this idea? Keep us posted. 8)
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Re: war against the white fly

JC's Garden wrote:
Good read.
I'm trying companion gardening for about 10 months now.
No WFs yet and less than a dozen BMSBs.
Don't know if it's just luck or if it works. I'll keep it up though.
kindly list the companion plants you have and the distance between them and the WF victim plants

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Re: war against the white fly

applestar keep us posted too if you decide to try it, but I think the mix should exclude nightshades since they're WF victims, logic isn't it.

So far I had done a citrus and a jasmine flower mix and sprayed in the morning, it confused them for a while but when the plants dried out they returned. so it wasn't effective, gonna try new mixes.

But according to the article, they might land on the leaf but don't start saping, I don't know, but conna soap water them this afternoon cause it is hot today and I saw hundereds of eggs under the eggplant leaves.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: war against the white fly

I am convinced some pieces of companion planting work (though there may also be some myths floating around). What I have the strongest evidence for is the value of planting the kind of nectar bearing flowers that have nectar in tiny florets, to attract a variety of beneficial insects including the braconid wasps. I never see a tomato hornworm in my garden that hasn't already been parasitized by them.

Part of how some of the companion planting stuff works is by disguising the smell of your crop, to make it harder for the insects to find. I think this is not so much in a temporary disorientation way, but in an on-going way. That's why a number of the common companion plants are strong smelling like garlic, onions, aromatic herbs:

They may also mask or hide the crop plants from insect pests, create habitat for the development of large beneficial insect populations and produce odors that are repellent to insect pest. Scented plants that are often mentioned as potential companion plants include scented marigold, mint, basil, rosemay, rue, garlic, artemsia and lavender. It is speculated that insects find target plants through plant shape, color and odor. Therefore plants with repellent or confusing odors might make it more difficult for insects to find their preferred vegetable crops. https://byf.unl.edu/OrganicPestControl

RE the silverleaf whitefly, yes they can attack non-greenhouse plants and they are particularly known as a vector for various plant diseases. The oleander leaf-scorch, that is a virulent and uncurable disease that is wiping out the California oleanders, is transmitted by the silverleaf whitefly.
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