15 Natural Whitefly Treatment Ideas
August 15, 2022
If you have a garden, you might’ve seen the little white bugs on your tomato plants, hibiscus leaves, or peppers.
You may brush them aside, thinking “hey, bugs are everywhere!” Until they start damaging your leaves.
Then you might wonder, what are these little white bugs on my plants?
These tiny moth-like insects are called whiteflies and they love, love, loveeee the plants in your backyard, front yard, and even in your home.
Whiteflies are a problem in hot places like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Port St. Lucie. We get calls every day asking about our whitefly treatments, as well as our treatments for other lawn pests like aphids, mole crickets, and mealybugs.
The people we usually get calls from are homeowners in Florida looking for natural whitefly treatments. As an eco-friendly company, we use products that are healthy for the environment.
But you might want to try things yourself without calling a pest control company - we totally get it, sometimes DIY is the move.
First, we’re going to tell you a little bit of info about whiteflies. Then, if your whitefly problem hasn’t gotten out of hand, we have 15 natural whitefly treatment ideas you can use on your garden veggies, your palm trees, and even your houseplants.
Whiteflies in Margate: The Basics
Whiteflies are tiny moth-like insects that have triangular bodies and can grow up to 2mm long. Adult whiteflies are usually yellow with four white wings and they have kind of a waxy texture.
While they have “flies” in the name and might look like whiteflies, they’re not actual flies. They’re in the same family as aphids and mealybugs, which all share a love for eating plants.
Whiteflies live in groups and are usually under the leaves of vegetable plants like cabbage, eggplant, peppers, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. You can also find them in greenhouses and on other shrubs around you.
Plants that attract whiteflies:
- Areca palms
- Bird of paradise flowers
- Hibiscus plants
- Golden durantas
- Live oak trees
Whiteflies have three primary stages:
Adult female whiteflies can produce about 400 eggs at once, laying them on the underside of leaves.
Nymphs are responsible for most of the damage to plants that are infested by whiteflies. The eggs can hatch in seven days, changing colors from light white to bluish-black when they are ready.
Whiteflies are most active during the day. They thrive in the heat, making Margate its prime real estate. They particularly increase their activity during the summer when Florida is at peak warmth.
There are over 70 different species that live in the area so it’s only a matter of time before you either see them or the dying plants they leave behind.
Whiteflies can damage plants and attract even more pests to your home. They stab and suck the sap from plants with their mouths.
The whiteflies most commonly seen on shrubs and trees are fig, ficus, and spiraling whiteflies. If your ficus hedges or coconut palm trees are looking a little off, then whiteflies might be behind the devastating changes to your plants.
Adult whiteflies can turn plants and leaves yellow as they feed, so that’s a big sign you have an infested plant.
They can also transmit certain viruses from plant to plant as they move along to find new food sources. These viruses can kill plants, making whiteflies a highly destructive brand of insect.
Whiteflies also leave behind honeydew. This sticky goo becomes a sooty-looking fungus that attacks plant leaves. Additionally, honeydew attracts other pests like ants that will likely enter your home looking for shelter and food.
Honeydew also damages driveways, outdoor furniture, patios, swimming pools, vehicles, and anything else that rests underneath infested plants.
15 Ways To Get Rid of Whiteflies Naturally
- Vacuum them up!
This is pretty self-explanatory. Yes, you can suck whiteflies up with your vacuum. They’re so small that it would just work.
Just try not to vacuum up all of your leaves!
2. Pick off the leaves
You might not be super excited to pick off your precious leaves, but whitefly damage is kind of like split ends. Damage from split ends travels up your head, just like whiteflies will keep traveling up your plants until the whole plant is damaged.
So it’s best to trim the plants in the infested areas so the whiteflies can’t travel up your whole plant.
If you have a whitefly-infested palm tree, you can prune the fronds.
Now, if you have a more severe whitefly infestation where you’re seeing the little bugs everywhere, that’s a different story. It’s probably not in your favor to pick off every single leaf on the plant, so you should either try another one of the ideas in this article or call a trusty pest control company in Margate.
3. Mix dish soap with water
Rinse whiteflies off your plants by mixing a little of any dish soap with water. You could also use a natural insecticide soap if you wanna get fancy.
Just remember that this will only kill the whiteflies and not the eggs they’ve laid. So it might only be step one to a few things you would wanna do to get rid of the whiteflies completely.
4. Check your nitrogen levels
Nitrogen is a whitefly attracter. So if your nitrogen is relatively high, that could be a source of your whitefly infestation.
You can purchase a nitrogen testing kit from Amazon, Lowes, or Home Depot. Nitrogen might also be attracting other insects like aphids.
5. Apply mulch and fertilizer
Aluminum reflective mulch and granular fertilizer can keep whiteflies away and help make plants and trees strong enough to defend themselves.
Aluminum mulch repels whiteflies by reflecting the light enough that the whiteflies can’t find the mulch. Put this mulch around your plants and the whiteflies might so blinded that they lose sight of your plants!
6. Water your plants
An obvious one - but it’s essential. A lack of rainfall can stress plants and trees, making them susceptible to whiteflies. If you see whiteflies on your plants, it might be time to add a litttllle extra water unless it’s an extra rainy month (then the issue is probably not related to water).
7. Earthworm casting
Earthworm casting is an organic fertilizer produced by earthworms. This fertilizer contains tons of micronutrients that can repel pests in Margate like whiteflies.
Use earthworm casting along with reflective mulch and you’ve got yourself a great whitefly defense system.
8. Clean your yard
Whiteflies can use rotting debris to reproduce. The dead leaves and plants they leave behind can be breeding grounds. Go around your yard and pick up this debris if you start noticing it. Whiteflies breed quickly so you should try to do this regularly.
9. Facilitate sunlight
Sunlight strengthens trees and plants. When you ensure your green area receives plenty of sunlight, you're helping them fight off the whitefly threat. Just make sure you adjust the amount of sunlight for the plant’s needs - not every plant likes full sun.
Some palms like the areca palm prefer partial shade!
10. Whitefly repelling plants
Some flowers are actually harmful to whiteflies, such as marigolds. You can help get rid of whiteflies by planting some of these around your yard.
Plants that repel whiteflies:
- Bee balm
11. Sticky traps
Coat a yellow index card with petroleum jelly. Whiteflies will be attracted to the yellow color and get stuck to the card.
Whiteflies are a great snack for birds, so if you make your yard bird-friendly, you might find that your whiteflies issue slowly chips away!
Try getting a bird bath and a bird feeder for your yard if you don’t already have one. Just make sure you change out the bird bath water regularly, or it’ll start to attract mosquitoes!
13. Neem oil
Neem oil is an essential oil that can be made into a spray mixed with water. It won’t just get the whiteflies off your plants, it’ll keep them from coming back due to its strong fragrance.
Fortunately, whiteflies don’t sit anywhere near the top of the food chain. Ladybugs, spiders, and dragonflies eat whiteflies.
Creating a welcoming environment for these insects can help keep whitefly numbers low.
15. Monitor your plants
Monitoring your plants and trees, especially after removing whiteflies, can help you act faster should the pests return.
Professional Whitefly Control
It’s never a bad thing to ask for help! If you’ve done everything you can (or feel like doing) then it might be time to ask for help.
If you’ve sprayed your plants with soap and water, used reflective mulch, or have added any repelling predator or plant, and you still have a whitefly infestation, then it could be a good idea to move beyond DIY whitefly treatment plans.
We know not everyone wants to spend a ton of time worrying about pest control. That’s why Native Pest Management exists!
We want to take care of all of your whitefly issues, and your issues with ants, mosquitoes, cockroaches, termites, spiders, and fleas.
Our local pest control plans are serviced by expert technicians who can analyze the issue and figure out the best treatment for your home. We have the tools and the expertise!
We can treat whitefly infestations with a systemic product that must be applied quarterly to infested tree and plant roots. The insecticide eliminates whiteflies’ abilities to feed on and lay eggs on plant material.
Our targeted treatment can also protect the insects that prey on whiteflies, creating the strongest defense system.
Local Pest Control In Margate
We strive to use the best products and treatment methods for all of our pest control services. With eco-friendly and pet friendly methods, we have a solution for every major pest in Margate:
- Fire Ant Control: Fire ants are bad news. Fortunately, we can make them yesterday’s news.
- Sugar ant control: They’re “just ants” until you have them everywhere, can we get keep them all away for good.
- Mosquito Control: Mosquito control can be a challenge because they can breed in practically any place with water. We have access to numerous options to minimize their presence and ability to reproduce.
- Rodent Control: From rodent trapping to exclusion methods, we can help protect you and your family from any rats and mice in Margate.
- Spider Control: We can identify where the spiders infesting your home originate, and what attracts them, and then implement a plan to stop them. Spiders can be scary but we can remove them so you don’t have to be scared anymore.
- Termite Control: Fumigation, no tent termite control, bait stations, and pre-treats are all in our plan to eliminate any termites threatening your home.
We can provide our ant control to the following Margate zip codes:
If you’re outside Margate, we also service all of Broward County! We also service all over South Florida, from Vero Beach down to Miami. Whether you’re in Fort Lauderdale, Coconut Creek, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie, or any other surrounding areas, we’ve got you covered.
We know you’ve worked hard to create your yard the way you want it. Seeing just one whitefly infestation can be a scary threat to all your efforts.
Your yard is your place to rest and enjoy, not for whiteflies to take over and make their own.
Talk to us today about our whitefly services and receive a free quote by giving us a call!
What Our Customers Are Saying
Explained in detail what steps would be taken to rid my home of the problem pest and how it would be effective. The technician arrived when he said he would and professionally went about his job. Three visits are scheduled ten days apart. I’ve seen no bugs since three days after first visit. I have confidence my issue is resolved.