Whitefly Insecticide Basics
What are whitefly insecticides?
Whitefly insecticides are products formulated to effectively kill whiteflies. They usually combat the whiteflies along with a wide range of other common garden pests. The active ingredient in a whitefly pesticide will vary from product to product and may be natural or chemical. Some are used as foliar sprays while others are used as soil drenches. The frequency of application and suitability of a whitefly insecticide will depend on its active ingredient and application method.
When should you buy a whitefly insecticide?
Whiteflies are a common garden pest. They are often found in greenhouses, flowerbeds, veggie patches, and fruit trees. Since their effects on plants are often devastating, how can you be sure it’s whiteflies and not some other garden pest? If you suspect whiteflies are the culprit, keep an eye out for the following:
- Live flies
Whiteflies are small, white, and moth-like in appearance. They are most easily spotted when they take flight since they do so in a cloud formation when an infested plant is disturbed.
- A sticky, yellow residue
This is also known as honeydew. It is a shiny, sticky deposit that whiteflies secrete in large quantities. When this gathers on the surrounding foliage, it causes a dark, sooty mold to develop.
- Yellowing disfigured leaves
Whiteflies damage leaves by feeding on plants. So, if your plants have yellowing or disfigured leaves, it could be a sign that whiteflies have been feasting there.
Once you’ve discovered whiteflies on your plants, you should act immediately! These insects reproduce rapidly and are notoriously tricky to get rid of. Start using a whitefly control insecticide right away to prevent a large infestation from taking hold.
Who should buy a whitefly insecticide?
Whiteflies are prolific pests. They are quite common invaders found in ornamental plants, greenhouses, fruit trees, vegetable patches, and flower beds. That makes them a problem that every type of gardener can face! The best whitefly pesticides are easy to mix and use at home. They also have low toxicity in humans and other non-target species.
For Vegetable Patches
If you need to treat your veggies, herbs, or fruit trees, it’s best to use a non-chemical whitefly insecticide. Formulations containing neem oil are highly effective when applied as a foliar spray. The bonus is that these won’t harm your plants’ edibility.
For Large Gardens
If you aren’t planning to eat what’s in your garden, you can declare full chemical warfare on your whiteflies. Formulations that contain a systemic insecticide, such as imidacloprid, only need to be applied once a year. These are a highly effective way of defending your plants from whiteflies. These are also a great option for people with large gardens. They will save you from needing to reapply a pesticide every few weeks to kill successive generations of whiteflies.
How do whitefly insecticides work?
Whitefly insecticides work by killing whiteflies, larvae, and eggs. They are applied as either a foliar spray or soil drench, depending on the active ingredient. A wide range of whitefly pesticides are available for domestic use, but which should you choose? Start by checking out the active ingredient. It should be clearly listed on the label and will help you decide which will be best for you.
Common Active Ingredients in Whitefly Pesticides
To make things clearer, here are all of the pesticides that are most commonly found in whitefly insecticides. With these products, you’ll be able to knock out your whitefly population before it’s too late.
A systemic insecticide is a chemical that is absorbed by a plant and distributed throughout the plant tissue. This means the plant will kill any insect that feeds on it. Unlike traditional pesticides, you can’t wash it off or remove it by peeling the fruits/vegetables that come from that plant. That makes these unsuitable for use on edible plants. They are best at treating ornamental flowers, shrubs, and trees.
Imidacloprid is one of the most effective systemic whitefly insecticides. When applied as a soil drench, it can drastically reduce the insect and larvae population within a matter of weeks. This chemical provides lasting protection and only needs one yearly application to keep these bugs at bay. It also has low levels of toxicity in mammalian species, making it relatively safe to use around your home.
This shouldn’t be used as a foliar spray, however. This insecticide can negatively impact honeybees and other natural whitefly predators such as ladybugs.
You can use acephate either as a systemic insecticide or as a foliar spray to effectively reduce the number of whiteflies in your garden. However, as with imidacloprid, it has negative effects on honeybees and other beneficial insect species when used as a spray. Unfortunately, this chemical also has a powerful odor and can give your garden the lingering smell of rotting eggs or cabbage. That’s why this chemical isn’t very popular for domestic use.
Diafenthiuron is a relatively new insecticide. It’s highly effective for controlling whiteflies, though. As with most other types of systemic pesticides, diafenthiuron is highly toxic to bees and shouldn’t be used as a foliar spray. It’s also highly toxic to aquatic species. So don’t use it if there is any chance of it leaching into bodies of water on or near your property.
Natural Whitefly Control Products
If you need a whitefly insecticide but don’t want to use potentially harmful chemicals in your garden, products containing neem oil and other extracts could be the perfect solution. You can apply these as a foliar spray on any plant in your garden. Insects must eat these products for them to be effective. As such, they are completely non-toxic to bees and other beneficial predators (such as ladybugs and spiders). They are also completely safe to use on edible plants. That makes these products a great choice for protecting your fruits and veggies from whiteflies.
Neem products are a fantastic, eco-friendly alternative to chemical insecticides. They are slightly less effective, however, and may not completely eradicate a large whitefly infestation.
You must also reapply these products periodically, which can be time-consuming if you have a large garden.
Additional Whitefly Control Methods
Whitefly insecticides can be an effective alternative to any of the following methods.
One way to remove whiteflies from your plants is to use a small, hand-held vacuum cleaner. Simply suck the bugs straight off your plants to physically remove them! This method is completely natural and may be effective if you have a very small whitefly problem. It’s unlikely to work on a large infestation, though.
- Natural Predators
Another organic method of removing whiteflies from your plants is to unleash an army of natural predators. Ladybugs will attack and kill whiteflies, so introducing them to your garden can help to control the problem. Keep in mind that this is unlikely to completely eradicate the problem. You may also have trouble getting your hands on enough ladybugs – you’ll need a lot of them!
- Sticky Pads
Sticky yellow pads can trap and kill whiteflies. Placing these glue traps near infested plants can help to reduce whitefly numbers. If you have a large population, this is unlikely to completely eradicate them but it can be an effective monitoring method.
- Reflective Mulch
Reflective plastic mulches can help to reduce whitefly populations by making it harder for them to locate your plants. This can prevent them from laying eggs and stop infestations from taking hold. Unfortunately, if you already have whiteflies, it won’t do anything to kill off the existing population.
Monitor your whitefly population throughout treatment.
Carefully monitoring your whitefly population is the best way to determine if the treatment method is working. Placing yellow sticky pads near infested plants will trap and kill whiteflies living on them while giving you an idea of how many bugs are living nearby at the same time.
Whitefly Insecticide Buying Guide
When choosing a whitefly insecticide, there are several factors to consider.
Do you have a large garden?
If you have a lot of plants on your property, foliar sprays can a time-consuming way of treating whiteflies. Opt for a systemic insecticide instead, such as the Adonis 2F Insect Concentrate. You only have to apply this once for annual protection. That means it can be a big time-saver for those with large gardens.
Do you have a large whitefly infestation?
Imidacloprid is a highly effective whitefly killer. You can use it to take down large infestations. Find an insecticide with imidacloprid as the active ingredient if you want to annihilate your whiteflies as quickly as possible.
Do you want to avoid using chemicals? / Do you want to treat edible plants?
It’s normal to be concerned about the idea of introducing chemicals into your garden’s ecosystem. That’s why products with neem extracts are a great natural option. Pesticides such as the AzaMax Botanical Insecticide are an eco-friendly alternative to harsh chemicals. They are less likely to harm honeybees or other beneficial insects. Natural insecticides are also better for edible plants such as vegetables and fruit trees.
Top Tips for Expert Use
- Spray frequently.
If you are using a foliar spray to tackle whiteflies, make sure to use it regularly and diligently. Whiteflies reproduce very quickly. That’s why repeated applications are essential to wipe out successive generations of these insects.
- Use preventative methods.
Consider using a reflective, plastic mulch around the base of infested plants during treatment. This will help to prevent additional whiteflies from moving in. You will also be able to tackle any infestations more quickly.
Whiteflies are one of the most common garden pests and are notoriously tricky to get rid of. These tiny, moth-like insects can infiltrate greenhouses, flower beds, and trees, causing an enormous amount of damage. They nibble on leaves to feed on plant sap and spread honeydew. As if that weren’t bad enough, this sticky residue encourages the growth of mold. They can decimate a carefully cultivated garden in no time!
Getting rid of your whiteflies as soon as you spot them is essential. But, choosing the best whitefly killer for your needs will depend on a variety of different factors. Systemic chemical pesticides are a great, one-time treatment for effective, lasting protection. If you have edible plants, though, a non-chemical alternative containing neem extract is a much better solution.