How Do I Remove Whiteflies?

“What can I use for whiteflies on Jatropha plants?” Question from Susan of Pembroke Pines, Florida

Answer: I recommend physical methods of removal for whiteflies followed by the use of an insecticide approved for organic gardening.

What are Whiteflies?

Whiteflies are fast-to-produce sucking insects that remove the juices from plant leaves and stems. Tiny whiteflies can be very destructive when populations are high–causing leaf drop and decline. When plants are badly infested, the undersides of leaves will become covered with clouds of tiny white flies and clusters of their small, round, white egg masses.

How to Remove Whiteflies

Start by spraying the plants off with a sharp spray of water from the hose. Focus on the undersides of leaves. Then look beneath the leaves for clusters of small, white egg masses. Leaves thickly covered with egg massed should be removed, tightly bagged, and thrown away. Next, wipe the small numbers of egg masses off of the remaining leaves. Make sure no eggs remain. Finally, spray the plants with insecticidal soap or Neem oil. (Click here for an overview of horticultural oils for organic insect control.) Continue to check for whiteflies and wipe and spray leaves as needed.

It may take a little work, but this method is effective.

Happy gardening,

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist