Whiteflies & Whitefly Control
Whiteflies are very small white insects that take home on the back side of leaves. Females puncture the leaves and lay eggs. Leaves then become sticky rather quickly, then a blackish mildew appears. The plant affected by a whitefly infestation will not grow anymore, or will grow very slowly.
When you touch a plant with whiteflies, they will take off in a group. These insects are more frequently found in garden shops, or green houses, but they can be brought home when you buy a contaminated plant.
There are a couple of methods to control whiteflies.
As you probably know every parasite has one or more natural predators, sometimes called auxiliary insects (that is one of the laws of nature). These predators are totally harmless for people and pets, but they will find and destroy parasites. Of course you should not wait to have an extreme invasion before introducing auxiliary insects, it might then be too late and you might have to resort to insecticides to really get the job done.
Encarsia is the natural predator for whiteflies in green houses. Encarsia formosa are shipped on strips (10 squares on each strip) you will usually get more than 1,000 Encarsia. An adult Encarsia lays 100-200 eggs and each egg will kill one whitefly larva.
1000 Encarsias for each 350 yd²
3000 Encarsias pour 1000 yd²
They should be brought in as soon as you notice whiteflies on your plants, then a second batch should be added a week later.
If the infestation of whiteflies is really severe you may have to use a pyrethrin insecticide. Pyrethrin I and Pyrethrin II are found in the leaves of pyrethrum, and are natural compounds in making an organic insecticide that is fast and effective. Click here to buy pyrethrin insecticide.
Another method consist of spraying the plant with insecticide soap, or a tansy infusion (tea). Recipe for insecticide soap
If you have, or can get tansy (not to be confused with tansy ragwort, which is a toxic plant) you can make a tansy tea.
Tansy infusion recipe for whitefly control:
Use leaves, stems and fresh flowers to the rate of 10 oz for 2 gallons of water. (You can substitute 1oz dried tansy plants).
Spray the tea on plants against aphids, ants, moths, flea beetles, whiteflies, and cabbage butterflies.
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