how-to-get-rid-of-white-fruit-flies

How to Get Rid of White Fruit Flies – Complete Guide

 

As a pretty prevalent pest, the whitefly is especially detrimental to plants. White fruit flies expand quite quickly and can cause severe infestations. Their elimination isn’t the easiest job, so it’s critical to notice early signs of infestation to treat it well and keep it under control. No need to panic—it’s possible to eliminate white fruit flies from your garden or greenhouse. Here are some tips for identifying, controlling, and how to get rid of white fruit flies!

 

How to Get Rid of White Fruit Flies – What are They?

 

They are soft-bodied insects very similar to mealybugs and aphids. Oddly enough, “whiteflies” are not a type of fly, though they have wings and can fly.

They can be as tiny as 1/12 of an inch and have an almost triangular shape. Found on the undersides of leaves, they are highly active during the day and quickly scatter when disrupted.

There are many white fruit fly species. Most affect just a few host plants, while a few affect a wider range of plants. These include:

  • Giant whitefly
  • Greenhouse whitefly
  • Silverleaf whitefly
  • Banded-winged whitefly

 

How to Get Rid of White Fruit Flies – Where are They Found?

 

Since they can’t survive in cold climates, you can spot whiteflies in winter among greenhouse environments or indoor plants. They’re mostly seen in mid-to-late summer when the weather is warm and humid.

 

 

They could also become seasonal outdoor garden pests if they’re brought from an infested greenhouse. It’s best to inspect any plants before taking them home!

In warmer regions, they can live through winter and reproduce outdoors all year long, so they can be a major nuisance for both outdoor and indoor plants.

 

How to Spot a Whitefly

 

Here’s how you can spot those creepy, pale pests where they’re hiding:

 

Ficus Whitefly

The Ficus whitefly is around 0.06 inches and has dark, red eyes and white wings with a grayish band. It lays yellowish eggs on the bottom sides of leaves.

Ficus plants and Rhododendron are its main targets. In its early stages, it can be spotted both on the top and bottom sides of leaves, unlike other whiteflies.

 

Rugose Spiraling Whitefly

The Rugose spiraling whitefly is almost 0.09 inches and is typically bigger and slower to move than other white flies. It has faint brown bands on its wings, and it lays wax-covered eggs in a spiral on the bottom side of leaves.

 

How to Get Rid of White Fruit Flies – Common Causes of Infestation

 

Whiteflies thrive in warmer temperatures, like greenhouses or home yards. They can be spotted underneath leaves; they attach their nymphs to the plants and feed off them.

If you bring them home, the infestation can expand in a blink, so beware! Here are some common causes of whitefly infestations for you to take note of:

 

1. Overuse of Insecticides

This must be a surprise, but insecticides can do more harm than good when it comes to whitefly issues. Many insecticides don’t target specific types of insects, so overusing them can banish the beneficial, predatory bugs.

Spiders, ladybug beetles, and parasitic wasps are natural enemies of whiteflies and can easily finish them off. Unfortunately, insecticides kill these off, so they’re very harmful to any garden’s health.

 

2. Drought

Water stress makes plants more susceptible to a whitefly infestation. Whiteflies quickly reproduce in hot, dry summers, as well as anywhere with unwatered plants and warm climates.

That said, drought stress can help whiteflies pervade. Pests that pierce or suck need dry weather, which makes whiteflies flourish during a drought.

 

3. Birds

 

 

While a ‘good morning’ from a cute bird is sometimes all you need, some birds are just not your friends. Birds like swallows and swifts can make a meal out of ladybug beetles, which are whiteflies’ natural enemies.

 

Are White Flies Dangerous?

 

Thankfully, whiteflies don’t directly harm humans; their direct damage is solely exclusive to plants. While they’re similar to mosquitos, their piercing mouthparts are just used to suck plants’ juices.

When whiteflies suck their fluids, plants can yellow and drop too early or completely die off. Besides, whitefly adults can transmit viruses from unhealthy plants to healthy ones.

They also excrete honeydew—a sweet, sticky liquid that coats leaves. The leaves are then colonized by sooty mold, a fungus that gives leaves a black, dirty look. If abundant, sooty mold can prevent the light from reaching the leaves and cause plant stress.

 

How to Get Rid of White Fruit Flies

 

Now, here is the fun part! While they’re not the easiest pest to eliminate, here are some of the best options for treating whitefly infestations using guaranteed techniques:

 

1. Water

 

No products found.

 

Blast your plants with water. A generous, hard spray will knock off the whiteflies happily thriving in your garden. They won’t be able to move afterward and will eventually starve and die.

 

2. Vacuum

 

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You can use a handheld vacuum to swallow those annoying pests up! Be careful not to damage the plants, and make sure to get rid of eggs, larvae, and the tiny whiteflies themselves!

 

3. Insecticidal Soap

 

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Safer 5118-6 Insect Killing Soap Concentrate - Insecticidal Soap for Plants - Kills Aphids, Whiteflies, Thrips, Spider Mites, and More - OMRI Listed for Organic Use
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Safer 5118-6 Insect Killing Soap Concentrate - Insecticidal Soap for Plants - Kills Aphids, Whiteflies, Thrips, Spider Mites, and More - OMRI Listed for Organic Use
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For heavy infestations, some insecticidal soaps can be used to knock them down. Insecticidal soaps make a coating that makes it difficult for the pests to breathe, so they can also terminate adult whiteflies.

 

4. Horticultural Oil

 

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Horticultural oils can also help with whitefly infestations. We especially recommend neem oil. It can kill off all life stages of the whitefly.

 

5. Yellow Traps

 

Trappify Sticky Gnat Traps for House Indoor - Yellow Fruit Fly Traps for Indoors/Outdoor Plant - Insect Catcher White Flies, Mosquitos, Fungus Gnat Trap, Flying Insects - Disposable Glue Trapper (25)
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You can use traps to catch whiteflies. We recommend yellow sticky traps, as whiteflies are attracted to the yellow color—they think it’s a flower!

 

How to Get Rid of White Fruit Flies – Prevention

 

It’s also key to actively prevent whiteflies from invading your garden. Here’s how you can protect your plants from those tiny, creepy invaders:

 

1. Clean plant debris

Make sure to constantly clean and get rid of any plant debris or weeds.

 

2. Inspect new plants

Before bringing in any new plants from outside, inspect them very carefully. Pay attention to the bottom sides of leaves, where whiteflies mostly feed, live, and reproduce. Dispose of any affected plants.

 

How to Get Rid of White Fruit Flies – Takeaway

 

Despite looking like angels, white fruit flies can be very harmful to your plants and a bit tricky to eliminate from your yard or greenhouse—yet not impossible!

Make sure to have some hummingbirds, dragonflies, whitefly parasites, or ladybugs in your garden. These are natural whitefly predators that can quickly treat infestations.

We hope these tips help you prevent and treat whitefly infestations and their pesky mess wherever it pops up!

CLICK HERE to browse our complete selection of non-toxic fruit fly traps!

 

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