Organic Methods for Whitefly Control

lpater(z8 GA)April 26, 2004

I inherited privet with an older home that are covered in whiteflies which are beginning to show up on my other plants. I hate to spray, but something's got to give. Are there any organic methods besides sticky traps for whitefly control?


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Don't laugh, but I read once that if you use a vacuum with the hose attachment, you can clear up a 'cloud' of these critters.

I've never been bothered by them badly enough to be seen outside doing this.

You might want to consider posting this question on the pests forum...

    Bookmark   April 27, 2004 at 4:46PM
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Sorry, you are not going to like my answer! Whitefly needs a host plant for reproduction. Here in the coastal area the favored host plant is....privet. All kinds but especially the variegated type. Rip out the privet and your problem will usually end if you watch carefully for privet seedlings that love to hide among the azaleas. There are a zillion organic suggestions for controlling whitefly. The one which works the best is to fill your hose end sprayer with lemon detergent, set the dial on one tablespoon per gallon and wash down every affected plant plus the privet early every morning...every day...during the whitefly season. IMPORTANT! It has become very difficult to find the right type of lemon detergent. It MUST be the old fashioned, original type which does not contain degreasers and antibacterials. Read the labels carefully. If the label says "cuts grease", don't use that one. The one you want is usually the cheapest on the shelf. Any of the newer detergents with special additives will burn plants.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2004 at 6:46PM
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lpater(z8 GA)

Thanks for your input everyone. I know I should pull the privet, but this hedge has been in place since 1960. I will need heavy equipment to rip it out and I have a bed planted in front of the get the idea. I think for right now I'll try the dish soap routine.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2004 at 8:59PM
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gardenalive(Galveston, z9b)

Mix dish soap, vegetable oil with water in a hose sprayer (the one that automatically mixes your solutions). Then right before the sun comes out, when the flies are least active zap them! Continue every week or so until they are no longer a major threat to your plants.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2004 at 5:36PM
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cherig22(MO 6a/6b)

If you pull the privet, it will only go to another plant like gardenias, conferate jasmine, etc. I don't know if Neem oil is organic, but yu might check because I think it is. I use it because is doesn't hurt the pets.....


    Bookmark   May 8, 2004 at 1:50PM
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I believe that if you do some searching on east coast whitefly you will find that Gardenias and jasmine are not 'host' plants for whitefly. In this locale, unless you have had the misfortune of bringing whitefly in on newly purchased nursery plants, whitefly hatches mainly on privet and then goes wandering to other plants. As I noted above, the variegated type of privet is the main whitefly host, followed by the other types. If you are fighting clouds of whiteflies and variegated privet is growing nearby....yank that first. Your problem may be solved if you watch closely for any seedlings hiding under other growth.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2004 at 4:15PM
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This worked in just one week after many different methods failed. I can't explain it, but it really worked. Slug bait. The granular stuff you shake out around plants to keep the slugs off. I can only guess that it was harmful to them when their eggs hatched. YOu know, the eggs hatch in the soil and then the flies fly up to the underside of the leaves. Also, snail bait was easier and cheaper than the other stuff I tried.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2004 at 3:05PM
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LADYBUGS... They are natures pest control. You can purchase live Ladybugs1500 for about 10.00 or so. You just spray the infected plant with water in the late afternoon, and release them. They feed at night and must have water or they will fly away from that plant. They feed on the White fly eggs on the underside of the leaves. The Ladybug larvae
drop to the ground and feed on the Whitefly larvae as they hatch. The ladybug larvae look like tiny little Ghilla (sp)Monters. Black and Orange They will devour Aphids by the millions.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 7:23AM
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I have had apparent success using the Yellow Lightbulb trick, which seems to be so attractive to whiteflies they fly to it, and are killed by the heat. I was having clouds of them early this spring and tried neem and spinosad, but it didn't seem to do nearly the job as putting on one of those bug lights. Its supposed to be invisible to most bugs but apparently not the white flies. I simply turn it on every night, and its about 100 feet away from my furthest plant that had problems before. Let me know if it works for you too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Home Page - My History and Philosophies

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 10:18AM
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Where can you order ladybugs?

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 9:05PM
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