What Are Whiteflies? Complete Guide (2023)

What Are Whiteflies?

Whiteflies are known to feed on plants, particularly on the underside of the leaves. Whiteflies have more than 1500 species available, but they are all sap-sucking insects. They look pretty much like scale insects and look flat and oval. They tend to be covered with the cottony element, and the adult whiteflies also have opaque white powder all over them (these adult ones look like small moths).

Whiteflies are common in warmer areas and are likely to live on greenhouse plants and houseplants. We are also going to discuss different types of whiteflies. First of all, the citrus whiteflies are known to suck on date trees and orange trees, which results in honeydew production. However, the sucking will result in sooty fungal growth that can damage the fruits.

On the other hand, there are greenhouse whiteflies that are extremely destructive and damage plants. It is likely to reduce the vigor, which causes leaf yellowing, wilting, and causing plant death.

Why Do Whiteflies Cluster Up In Your Home?

Whiteflies are known to suck on plant juices and create a sticky substance, commonly known as honeydew. This honeydew can cause fungal infections in plants. In addition, it will weaken the plants. That being said, it’s evident that whiteflies cluster up in your home if there are plants. They reside on the leaf’s undersides and infect the newly born plants for the most part. It can cluster up for different types of plants, such as citrus plants, greenhouse plants, and houseplants. So, if you have these plants, it is likely to cause whiteflies infestation if you don’t maintain and clean the plants regularly.

How To Get Rid Of Whiteflies?

For getting rid of whiteflies, there are various traps that you can use. However, it’s suggested to start this treatment during the evenings and mornings. So, the instructions to get rid of whiteflies include the following;

  • First of all, use the spray bottle or water hose for blasting away the whiteflies. It will result in the scattering of the insects, and the nymphs will be dislodged
  • Use insecticidal soap to spray the plant leaves (these soaps can be bought from the grocery stores and have the instructions written on them, so follow them). Keep in mind that you might have to use the soap multiple times to ensure complete removal. In addition, you should spray the insecticidal soaps during cooler parts of the day
  • Use the handheld vacuum cleaner to suck away the whiteflies. You might need to follow this method multiple times to ensure you get rid of the whiteflies completely. However, always dump the vacuum bag in a trash can far away from home

Whiteflies

When you are successful in getting rid of the whiteflies, you need to make sure that you are following the preventive measures. So, let’s have a look at these preventive measures, so you can secure your home from further infestation, such as;

  • Whenever you purchase new plants, make sure that you inspect them (look under the leaves) and make sure there are no whiteflies stuck there. If you find whiteflies on the plants, just get a new plant
  • Get yourself some spiders and ladybugs because they are natural predators and will keep the whiteflies away. In addition, you can purchase a hummingbird because they prevent whiteflies and look so pretty
  • It is suggested that you don’t use chemical-based insecticides because they can sometimes damage the plants
  • Use reflective aluminum mulch for early-season mulching. This is because the reflective nature keeps the whiteflies at bay
  • Add yellow index cards around the vegetable crops and do add a petroleum jelly layer on the cards. As a result, the whiteflies will be caught in the petroleum jelly, and you won’t have to worry about them sucking on the plants

Where Do Whiteflies Come From?

The whiteflies are unable to survive in colder climates, which means they will be more evident in warmer areas. In warm temperatures, they can also reproduce pretty quickly. Generally, whiteflies appear during the late summer and mid-summer because of humid and warm weather. On top of everything, they infest plants like eggplants, tomatoes, okra, and peppers. However, they can also attack ornamental plants.

Will Whiteflies Sting Or Bite Me?

No, whiteflies don’t sting or bite humans. However, they do have a piercing mouth which is used for extracting fluids from the plants (yes, it’s much like how mosquitoes work).

How Bad Is The Sting Of Whiteflies?

Since whiteflies don’t sting or bite whiteflies, you don’t have to worry about them.

Are Whiteflies Destructive?

Yes, whiteflies are destructive to plants. For instance, when they suck juices from the plants, it will result in leaf yellowing, premature dropping, and shriveling. In addition, if the whiteflies infest plants in a bigger count, it will result in plant death.

Why Are Whiteflies Bad?

The whiteflies are bad because they weaken the plants and hinder their ability to conduct photosynthesis. In addition, it can slow down the plant’s growth. For this reason, the whiteflies aren’t good to have and must be eliminated.