white fly infestation

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by pickapeppa, Aug 20, 2005.

  1. pickapeppa

    pickapeppa Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2005
    Well, I finally got my green beans up, and guess what? They are covered with white flies. Does anyone have a good method to getting rid of them?
  2. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

    Feb 23, 2005
    Southwestern PA
    I had the same Q as pickapeppa (except it is the lettuces and leafy herbs I brought in for the winter that are infested). I did the search of the archives, and found that she asked but nobody answered. So, here is what I found:

    First, I have a gardening book that suggests combining 1c of water with .33c of vegetable oil and 1tsp of liquid dish soap, and spraying that on the plants, with special attention to the undersides of the leaves. I did that once a few days ago, and so far it hasn't seemed to help. I also read that it often takes repeated applications to help, so I tried it again just now--we'll see if it works. Apparently the oil is supposed to suffocate them and the soap is supposed to be toxic to them. I don't like spraying all this junk on my greens, but the way things are going, I'm not going to be eating them anyway.

    If that doesn't work, I'll try the things mentioned in the 2 quotes below, which I pulled off of the internet.

    If anyone has experience with this, please let us know! AND, I was also wondering--if I give up on the plants, can I put the containers outside and let everything freeze hard for a few days, then bring it back inside and reuse the soil? Will the fly larvae be dead, or will they survive the freeze? ALSO, if that isn't good enough, can I just throw the infested plants/soil on the compost pile (I mean, will the flies be dead by spring thaw, or will they survive the winter)? :help:


    "Controlling White Flies in the Garden

    The adult whiteflies you see flying around are not causing the problems on your landscape plants. It's the larvae that do the feeding, using their piercing/sucking mouthparts to sip fluid from cells. A spray of water will help knock the larvae off the leaves.

    To intercept the adults before they can lay eggs, try this. For some reason, adult whiteflies can't resist the color yellow. You can purchase whitefly sticky traps (yes, they are yellow), or you can make your own. Use yellow plastic plates and staple to a wooden stake. Coat the plate with something sticky like petroleum jelly or a product like Tanglefoot (very sticky - like fly paper goo). Place your yellow plate near your lantana and voila! It will soon be covered with adult whiteflies.

    Whiteflies have many natural enemies lurking in your garden - but you may not see them unless you know what to look for. Whitefly numbers increase rapidly when these enemies have been disturbed or destroyed by pesticides, dust buildup, or other factors. General predators include lacewings, bigeyed bugs, and minute pirate bugs and tiny, non-stinging predatory wasps which parasitize whitefly larvae. Hummingbirds catch the adult whiteflies in mid-air.

    Controlling ants near your plants may help as well. Ants actually protect the whitefly larvae because they produce sugar-laden 'honeydew' which the ants relish. Use ant baits to control them and this will leave the whiteflies vulnerable to other natural enemies.

    Good luck!" http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/lists/azgard/2004080235022048.html

    "Aphids, Mealybugs, and White Flies: Frequent repetition is the key to control. A strong water spray or under the shower drench is recommended currently. The old way was to remove the critters with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol, including under the leaves, followed by a good washing. There are other less time consuming options though. Commercial insecticidal soap spray is one. Or make your own using a half teaspoon of Ivory Dishwashing Liquid in a gallon of water. (I have found the usually recommended one teaspoon per gallon too strong for many indoor plants. Causes brown damage on tender leaves.) Or consider a spray of water and mouthwash (with alcohol) which smells pleasant, like peppermint. The bugs don't like the alcohol or the smell. Pyrethrum, the safest chemical, which is in most house plant sprays, is the classic treatment for these critters. For non edible plants, spray with light horticultural summer oil, which lasts longer than all of the above. It also may cause brown leaf damage so test it first on a small area." http://gardens.bobvila.com/Article/123.html

  3. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 6, 2003
    One of my friends had white flies on her houseplants, and used the alcohol method to remove them.

    I'm thinking Safer's spray might be best, though.


    Yucky things, we hates them...

  4. Marcia in MT

    Marcia in MT Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 11, 2002
    northcentral Montana
    We generally use insecticidal soap or pyrethrum.

    The problem with the liquid dishwashing stuff is that it's actually *detergent* and not real *soap*. It is some of the fatty acids in soap that have been shown to kill insects; the commercial insecticial soaps are made with only these fatty acids and are not complete like soap. However, although you wouldn't want to wash with them, they are *just* soap.

    Detergents, on the other hand, are not the same chemicals. So although they will clean with water, their action on insects is different, and they can actually harm the foliage of plants. (To be honest, real soap isn't good for ferns or ficus, either.)

    You can make your own spray out of any of the pure bar soaps by mixing chips in water, but the dosage is hard to control. The commercial concentrates are easy to use and not expensive.