How to get rid of whiteflies – four top tips for a pest-free garden

Whiteflies can cause havoc to your plants due to the sugary excrement they leave behind. As well as this, they can spread plant viruses as they move from plant to plant. Therefore it is advisable to tackle whiteflies effectively and eliminate them from your garden, home and greenhouse as soon as possible.

The Glasshouse whitefly is a common sap-feeding insect which predominantly lives on greenhouse plants and house plants.

These insects reduce the vigour of plants due to their dangerous excretion.

This excretion is a sticky, sugary substance called honeydew, which impacts leaves, stems and fruits of host plants negatively.

These creatures thrive in warm conditions which is why they are not an issue for outdoor plants but can impact the growth of houseplants and greenhouses all year round.

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Whiteflies are fond of many different plants, including azaleas, rhododendrons, honeysuckle and vegetables such as cabbages.

Predominantly, however, they prefer indoor plants and will be less picky when it comes to the species of plants when they are located indoors or in greenhouses.

Whitefly damage is often difficult to identify on plants, but the white cloud rising from the underside of the leaves is the easiest way to tell they are present.

Over time the honeydew whiteflies leave behind will make the leaves sticky and lead to a black sooty mould developing.

This mould will be unsightly and will gradually starve leaves of necessary light to photosynthesise.

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Greenhouses and indoors

To control the population of whiteflies in your greenhouse, you can use yellow sticky traps.

Insects are attracted to the traps due to the yellow colour and they are then caught in the glue.

You can also use a biological control to eliminate whiteflies such as introducing a tiny wasp into your greenhouse.

Wasps lay their eggs in the scale stage of the whitefly which eliminates them.

You should also try to use contact insecticide on the underside of plant leaves where you suspect they are inhabiting.

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