How Do You Control Whiteflies?


The best way to control whiteflies is by early prevention, and plants that typically have a high infestation of whiteflies should be removed to prevent further infestation. A less drastic solution is to remove leaves that have become heavily infested or vacuum flies off plants by using a small handheld vacuum. Hosing down or syringing plants that have become infested can also help to remove a number of the pests.

Reflective mulch or aluminum foil can be used to keep whiteflies away from vegetable gardens, while sticky traps help to keep down the number of flies that gather on plants. The use of insecticidal soaps and neem oil can also reduce the number of whiteflies on plants, but neither method can get rid of the pests completely.

A number of natural enemies of whiteflies can help keep these parasites under control in gardens. The number of whiteflies often rises when their natural predators are absent or have been eliminated by pesticides. These natural predators include lacewings, big-eyed bugs, minute pirate bugs and some species of small lady beetles. Some species of Scymnus and Chilocorus also feed on whiteflies. A variety of naturally occurring parasites help to maintain fly populations at manageable levels, while others are purposefully released in greenhouses to keep whiteflies under control.