If you’ve ever walked through your garden or brushed up against some of your plants only to find yourself deluged with what seem like a shower of small white flies all around you, chances you you’ve got white flies (Trialeurodes vaporariorum). Over 1500 species of white flies have been described, and their feeding and destructive habits are similar. Many plants can be affected including fruit trees, most vegetables, and many ornamental plants.
These flies are small, sap-sucking insects that typically live and lay their eggs on the underside of plant leaves. A sticky honeydew is a telltale symptom as well as yellowing and dying of leaves. Despite their name, they are not true flies as they are insects in the order Diptera related to aphids and scale insects. They develop rapidly in warm weather with large colonies developing if predator insects aren’t present or have been disrupted (ex. by pesticides)
Management of white flies can be challenging if they get out of hand. We recommend hosing down infected plants with a sharp spray of water as well using as products like insecticidal soap. Yellow sticky traps can be used, but generally this is more of a monitoring and detecting the presence and infestation level more than a treatment method. If the above remedies don’t work, removing infected plants as well as waiting for winter to come and kill them off can be used as a last resort.
To purchase insecticidal soap, visit our online store or contact us to help you with your insect problem.
Cover Image by naturalflow, used under its Creative Commons license.