An organic way to get rid of whiteflies?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Michael hadn't been to the garden for awhile and he asked me the other day, "How's the garden doing?"

I described the state of affairs in three simple words: "Yellowy and buggy."

Yep, that's pretty much how it looks and feels these days. With the weather being so hot and humid, most of the plants (with the few exceptions being tomatoes and basil) look as if they're just barely hanging on. This is usually how it is here in July; everything in the garden gets kind of withery and weak and bug-infested, and the oppressive heat leaves me with little desire to do anything about it.

That is... except for the whiteflies. I am willing to start an all-out assault on those!

My one little Brussels sprout plant was growing up perfectly, until about a week ago when I pulled back its leaves and witnessed The Swarm -- that unmistakable swirl of little white pests, flitting away from their cozy hideaway underneath. Every one of my cole crops has gotten afflicted with whiteflies at some point, and now, again, the Brussels sprouts have them. Enough is enough!

So... I need help from all you fellow gardeners. What is an effective, organic solution to whiteflies? Is there a non-chemical way to get rid of them -- completely?


Blogger Stunned Donor said...

Spray them with a water and dish washing liquid mixture (I like Dawn) and get yourself a couple whitefly traps. They're pieces of yellow cardboard that have glue on them and they really draw the whiteflies away.

8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ladybugs and spiders are probably your best friends when it comes to the war against white flies. When spraying anything around the garden, be sure not to do it in a way that will disturb them.

Maybe you want to buy a box of ladybugs.

I've also heard the whitefly traps work well. You can make a homemade version with yellow plastic and cooking oil.

7:10 AM  
Blogger Christa said...

Thanks, Steven and Patrick. I'll have to try the dishwashing liquid. We've had tons of laybugs in the garden this year -- more than I've ever seen before -- but I guess they haven't had much of an appetite for whiteflies.

I've never seen whitefly traps. Will any old piece of yellow plastic with cooking oil do the trick? Is it the yellow color that attracts them?

6:29 PM  
Blogger Riquito said...

I agree with steven... It works.

By the way nice peaches ... wish i can grow them here in the Philippines.

10:00 PM  
Blogger Harvest said...

I had a terible problem with whiteflies, but now they are controlled by beneficials. I plant a number of different things to attract the beneficial insects. Not to totally blow my own horn, but if your interested search on Beneficial Insects on my blog . . . This year I seem to really have it down, and I don't mind sharing . . .

6:18 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I've heard that covering a piece of yellow plastic (a big mustard jar was what was recommended) with Vaseline works against whiteflies. I haven't tried it yet, although I've had good success in the past with the purchased yellow traps.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Christa said...

A mustard jar. Perfect! I've been looking around the house trying to find something that's made with yellow plastic. It just so happens that I have an extra bottle of mustard. (Can't wait to see my husbands face when he sees it sitting in the garden. LOL!) Thanks, Claire!

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I lived in San Francisco in a studio apartment with tons of sunlight I had an outdoor garden inside! It was like a jungle. When I brought home white fly and they became a pest, I bought the sticky yellow traps and they worked perfectly. All the whiteflies disappeared. Now I'm living in a different city with my only plants in pots outside my door and brought home whiteflies again. Again I purchased the yellow sticky traps, and although they have killed TONS of them, they continue to be a problem. I wouldn't mind washing leaves with Dawn soap and water, but when I lift up leaves I don't see them flying out. They are just flying around in the air. It's driving me crazy. I threw out the begonia clippings which started the whole thing, and now I'm wondering if they bury their eggs in the dirt and if I should toss the dirt in the pot. Does anyone know?

7:32 PM  
Blogger Jane said...

White flies! So that's what they are!
Our tomato plants have these this year. We've been gardening for years & years & I have never seen these little buggers before last week. Guess I need to start finding a lot of yellow plastic & try to do battle against them.

Nice site you have. I found my way here by searching for stuff on sage.

5:40 PM  
Anonymous Mary said...

What is the recipe. how much dawn and how much water. Thanks, DESPERATE!!!!!!!!!!

9:21 PM  
Blogger Patrinas Pencil said...

This has been very helpful. My tomatoes are dieing from white flies. I've never ever had them on any of my garden before. I lived in CO for 30 some years and now in AR. The summers are unbearable!

Thanks for all the suggestions. I just put in the sear bar how to get rid of white flies and your blog was #1! Coolio!

Patrina <")>><

1:03 AM  

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