Here are 14 top tips on How to Get Rid of Whiteflies naturally to keep your plants safe from these pesky pests.
These chemical-free methods on How to Get Rid of Whiteflies are sure-shot ways to keep your plants safe from getting damaged without using commercial pesticides.
Check out our article on how to get rid of Common Houseplant Pests here
What are Whiteflies?
According to a report by the University of California, whiteflies are tiny, sap-sucking insects that may become abundant in vegetables, fruits, and ornamental plantings, especially during warm weather.
Surprisingly, they do not come under the category of true flies and are closely related to other common garden pests like aphids, scales, and mealybugs.
Just like aphids, whiteflies excrete honeydew and damage leaves, making them yellow, appear dry, and eventually fall off plants.
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Plants Prone to Whiteflies
This list can be very long but be careful of whiteflies while growing some of the most popular plants like grapes, eggplants, okra, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, beans, citrus, cucumbers, squash, brassicas, poinsettia, hibiscus, begonias, petunias, and roses.
How to Prevent or Get Rid of Whiteflies?
1. Spray Water or Dish Soap
The best action you can take to protect your plants from whiteflies is to remove them with a strong jet of water. A small sprayer or a garden hose will eliminate nymphs and eggs. Or, just add one tablespoon of any mild liquid dish soap to a gallon of water and spray on the affected plants. Keep doing this for some time every 3 days until all mature flies and their eggs eliminate.
Note: This will only take care of small infestations in indoor plants or the ones in a container garden on balcony or patio.
2. Keep the Foliage Clean
Use a damp, soft cloth soaked in filtered water to wipe the upper and undersides of leaves and stems to eliminate mold and honeydew. It will also help you to get rid of whiteflies eggs if there are any. If there are damaged leaves, remove carefully and toss them in a plastic bag, the undersides might contain their eggs.
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3. Quarantine the Infested Plant
Whenever you spot an infestation, isolate the most affected plants for 2 to 4 weeks to break the cycle. Also, as a precaution, keep your new plants away from old plants for at least a couple of weeks.
This will stop all the chances of the whiteflies spreading from one plant to another.
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4. Vacuum Them
Use a small, portable vacuum cleaner to carefully remove whiteflies, and make sure you do not cause any damage to the plants. Then, dispose of the bag in an outdoor dustbin. Again, this trick is practical for only small infestations of houseplants, herbs, and succulents.
5. Invite Natural Predators
Create a natural environment to attract natural enemies like green lacewings, whitefly parasite wasps, ladybugs, and dragonflies into the garden.
These helpful insects can prey on whiteflies and provide natural whitefly and aphid control.
Here are the best plants that attract ladybugs to the garden
6. Use Yellow Sticky Traps
Use yellow sticky traps to trap whiteflies for good. It is also effective against fungus gnats, thrips, and aphids. Whiteflies are attracted to the color yellow and get stuck on the gum-like substance.
7. Apply Insecticidal Soap
For a heavy indoor or outdoor infestation, apply insecticidal soap or make your own by combining 1-2 tablespoons of castile soap and half a teaspoon of edible oil in a gallon of water.
Mix well and spray on the affected area of the plant. It will help suffocate the whiteflies and kill them. For garden plants, apply right before sunset or early morning and repeat if necessary.
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8. Try Neem Oil
Neem oil is very effective against whiteflies. Make a foliar spray to kill the whiteflies by mixing one teaspoon of neem oil in 1 liter of water. If you want to make it more powerful, add 4-5 wee bit drops of liquid soap. Shake well and apply to the foliage to eliminate these pests. Do this once or twice a week for 2 weeks.
Here are the best neem oil uses in the garden
9. Earthworm Castings
You can apply earthworm castings to repel whiteflies. The casting dissolves the outer layer or skin of the whiteflies, killing them eventually. Also, when the castings decompose, it acts as a healthy, organic fertilizer.
Read our article on getting rid of mealybugs here
10. Grow Plants that Repel Pests
Another easy and safer option to keep the whiteflies away from the affected plants is growing plants that repel whiteflies.
These plants include parsley, basil, mint, cilantro, chives, onion, dill, zinnias, nasturtiums, marigolds, pineapple sage, bee balm, and hummingbird brush.
Here are the best plants that repel aphids
11. Add Reflective Mulch
Cover the ground around the plants susceptible to whiteflies like peppers and tomatoes using metallic fabric mulch. The reflective substance appears confusing to these insects, and they stay away from the spot.
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12. Use Wood Ash
Dust wood ash on the affected plants and all the surrounding areas where you spot whiteflies. The ash will dehydrate and suffocate them in no time. This amazing trick will also help in controlling aphids and mealybugs in no time.
Check out the best wood ash uses here
13. Kill with Baking Soda
Add 1/3 teaspoon baking soda, 6-7 drops of liquid soap, and half a teaspoon of vegetable oil to half a liter of warm water. Stir well and spray it where ever you spot whiteflies infestation. It will kill them in no time.
Have a look at the Baking Soda uses in the garden here
14. Use Milk Powder
Add 3-4 teaspoons of milk powder to a liter of water and spray it on the affected areas. You can also apply diluted milk with water in a 1:1 ratio and spray where you spot whitefly or aphid infestation on plants.
A study also states the application of milk can reduce pest infestation by almost 30-40%.