whiteflies in my garden ladybugs not helping

apartmentgardeningApril 15, 2012

Hello, I have 1 better boy tomatoe in a 12" pot, and zucchini and crookneck squash in a planter, I have spearmint in a few pots around my patio, they all seem to be very hospitable to the white fly. I have a worsening white fly infestation, I got a container of ladybugs to try to curb the white flies, but the number of white flies is not declining, and possibly growing. The lady bugs seem more interested in mating and sunbathing than eating. Is this typical with store bought ladybugs? Im thinking of getting mantises to help, but other than the white fly there wouldnt be much for them to eat. Any suggestions Im overlooking? Thanks in advance.

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I have the same issue but on my grape plants, a striped wing white fly. I ordered lacewing larvae eggs to place on my plants. I had written the seller before the order and he stated I should use an insecticidal soap to get the population down. I tried a home based soap mix using Ivory Soap and that didn't seem to work too well and bought an organic Insecticidal Soap spray. I already set the lacewing eggs out and have seen a few lacewing larvae, but I'm not seeing any of the white fly population dropping. And I can't use the soap spray as it will kill lacewing larvae. So I'm just watching. With your small garden you might try hanging some sticky strips near the plants. Close enough that you can gently shake the plants and they'll fly into it.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 5:21PM
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Controlling Whitefly, or any other insect pest, starts with understanding something about how they live. Most often the presence of adult whitefly means you have larva in your soil and that usually means the soil is too moist. Allowing the potting soil to dry out more more often then not stops the Whitefly.

Here is a link that might be useful: Whitefly control

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 6:25AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Kimmsr, you must be thinking about fungus gnats. Whitefly do not enter the soil (moist or dry) to lay eggs. Whitefly 'larvae' don't live in the soil but are called nymphs and live on the underside of the leaves.

apartment, you'll just have to be patient, I guess. Since you are trying to foster a beneficial insect population, I'd even stay away from the sticky traps. You'd be surprised at the number of ladybugs, lacewing adults, parasitic wasps, and other good guys that they will trap.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 11:26AM
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This is what I do for whiteflies. Spray all the leaf undersides thoroughly with insecticidal soap. Rinse the soap off thoroughly an hour later. Water the affected soil block with properly created and diluted compost tea an hour later -- to help repair the effects the soap had on soil biota and to strengthen the plants' natural resistance to pests and pathogens.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 4:52PM
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Hmm. Not sure where I was yesterday, and there was not even any fog around here. However, the link I provided gives good advise on controlling Whitefly. Understand thzt even Insecticidal Soap can do harm to the Lady Beattles.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 6:17AM
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david52 Zone 6

About 10 years ago, I didn't know what whiteflies were, and brought some into our greenhouse with an ornamental plant - they got everywhere.

I ended up controlling them by dipping all my plants in a bucket filled with diluted dormant oil spray, which suffocates the non-winged portion of a white-fly cycle. Then after a few hours, used a mist to clean off the residue.

Those things are a nightmare if they get into your houseplants or, worse, a greenhouse. I pretty much had to throw everything out and star over.

I am now so attuned to the things that I can walk into a grocery store and spot a white fly on a lemon, 10 feet away.

I now have one, single, flying adult in my greenhouse. Grrrrrrrr

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 1:55PM
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I am happy to hear people using Ladybugs to get ride of the garden pests, but one must remember that most plant or garden pests are "nocturnal" meaning they are active at night, so like-wise ladybugs are also "nocturnal" so when you check for pests or ladybugs you need to do that at night. Ladybugs also need a nesting box even if you are using above ground planter boxes. New blog on the history of the Ladybug.

Here is a link that might be useful: History of the Ladybug

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 11:09AM
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Another quick solution for stemming the tide of adults is to use a handheld vacuum or a stand vacuum with the wand attached. If they are just buzzing around a plant you should be able to suck up 90% of them in a few minutes. They should die in your vaccum canister, but if you are worried about them surviving just leave it out in the sun and let em cook a little before you dump it. Then the ladybugs should have a better time managing what you have left to avoid another population explosion.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 11:54AM
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