Whiteflies can be a serious problem for many gardeners. They are found on the undersides of plant leaves and are active during the day when the temperature is warm. When a heavily infested plant is disturbed, a white cloud of adults flies into the air.
Whiteflies damage plants by sucking out plant juices. Heavily infested plants can by seriously weakened. Plant leaves turn yellow and wilt. Whitefly adults and larvae will suck out more plant juice than they can digest and the excess juice is excreted as a sticky substance called honeydew which covers the leaf surface. Honeydew is the ideal growing medium for black fungus called sooty mold.
Whiteflies are about 1/10 to 1/16 inch long and resemble tiny moths. Their wings are covered with a white powdery wax. Females can lay between 200-400 eggs.
What To Do
- Regular feedings provide the nutrients your plants need to grow strong to better protect themselves from insect damage.
- Water plants just as they begin to wilt. Stressed plants are more susceptible to insect damage.
- Identify and control the problem early.