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Oh, oh, got some unwanted flying visitors on your houseplants?

By: Angelia Daugirda

Oh, oh, got some unwanted flying visitors on your houseplants?

Have you seen teeny tiny things flying around your houseplants?  

This week's super pest is…(We get so excited about sharing this stuff!) WHITEFLY

What to look for?

Have you seen any flying little buggers that look like little moths? If so, you may have whiteflies!

They are crazy lil buggers. You probably won’t notice them until you move the plant and a small cloud of little whiteflies appear.  Adults, the ones with wings, lay eggs while they are eating (glad humans aren't like that!), the eggs hatch in about a week, the newbies crawl to their new home and stay put until they mature, just like aphids and scale, they suck the life out of your plants and ultimately attract more disease with their sticky exudate. Once they mature, back to the winged stage, they start the process all over. They can get out of hand pretty fast.

How to get rid of them?

There are a few ways to stop them in their tracks.

Approach 1:  Cool thing is, they are attracted to the color yellow! Try using the sticky yellow traps to catch the adults, the egg layers.  This is one of the most effective when used in combination with the below approaches. You can buy these online from a variety of sources. Hang or stick them into your indoor plants. 

Approach 2:  Mix up an easy soap solution!  Start by mixing 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap or liquid castile based bath soap with 1 quart of water and place into a small hand spray bottle.  Place your plant in the shower or anywhere that overspray won’t make a mess and you can rinse your plant when done.  Spray your homemade insecticidal soap spray onto every nook and cranny of your plant.  This will get the babies and the adults.  Wipe off leaves with a soft cloth, rinse your plant several times, and inspect again.  If you see any eggs or adults, repeat the process above. 

Approach 3:  Add a shot of neem oil to your homemade concoction.  Neem oil comes in a concentrate and can be purchased easily online. Mix according to instructions and add in your liquid soap, pour into a spray bottle and follow the instructions in Approach 2.  

In addition, a good blast from the shower head, hose or faucet will remove the babies (aka nymphs).  However, stopping those egg laying adults first is always key!

Now you know... Whitefly Control 101!

Happy houseplanting!

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