Whiteflies: How to Identify and Get Rid
of These House Plant Pests

What Whitefly Looks Like

Whiteflies (Trialeurodes vaporariorum) look like tiny moths with 4 powdery white wings.

Their eggs and larvae are yellowish-green in color and barely visible without a magnifying glass.

whitefly, whiteflies

Where to Find Them

These tiny winged insects will likely be found on the undersides of leaves where they suck plant juices, causing the leaves to turn yellow and appear limp. They secrete honeydew -- a sticky substance which encourages growth of sooty mold. Honeydew is sweet and sometimes attracts ants that like to feed on it.

You'll see them flutter around like snowflakes when an infested plant is disturbed.

They're not picky eaters -- they'll feed on more than 60 species of plants. Soft-leaf plants are among of their favorites, including African violet, chrysanthemum, flowering maple, gerbera daisy and Cape primrose. 

It's a good idea to check over your plants once a week for any signs of an invasion -- wilted or weakened growth, yellow mottled leaves, leaf drop, sticky honeydew, and sooty mold.

How to Get Rid of Whiteflies

Isolate and treat your plant as soon as you notice the infestation. White fly reproduces quickly and can kill your plant. Whitefly control will prevent them from invading your other house plants.

Prune heavily infested leaves as soon as you notice them. They're not likely to recover from the feeding by these plant-sucking insects.

If only a few leaves are infested, wipe off eggs and larvae with a damp cloth.

The adults are susceptible to insecticides. Use Bonide® Insecticidal Soap Ready to Use Spray made for indoor plants. Spray every 2-3 days for 4 weeks or as needed. Make sure your plant is listed on the product label. Read the label carefully and follow the manufacturer's directions for use.

Put a Sticky Whitefly Trap on a stake in each pot of an infested plant to catch them.

Whiteflies are attracted to the bright yellow color and once they land on the sticky surface...they're stuck.

These sticky traps are affective in attracting catching flying pests -- whiteflies, thrips and fungus gnats. They're safe to use indoors and in the greenhouse.

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