How to Get Rid of White Flies on Houseplants

Whiteflies are insects of the Aleyrodidae family. A wide range of whiteflies can infest plants, depending on where you live and the sort of houseplant you have in your home.

These insects are smaller than a tenth of an inch. They are heart-shaped flies regularly found in the wild. Whiteflies flutter into the air when a plant is moved or touched.

A telltale sign of a whitefly infestation is when the plants look like they’ve been sprinkled with sugar. Whiteflies are found indoors, especially in the United States houseplants, because of the cold weather.

Whiteflies do not devastate a plant completely. They pierce the surface of the leave and suck the sap out of them, leaving them lifeless but not dead.

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Whitefly infestations can quickly get out of control if left untreated. Therefore, it’s best to get rid of these flies as soon as possible.

Whiteflies Life Cycle

The life cycle of the whitefly lasts between four and six weeks. The most typical phases of the whitefly life cycle are the eggs, nymphs, and adults.

Whitefly eggs are laid on the undersides of leaves by female adult whiteflies. You have to look attentively to see their signs since they are tiny and easy to miss.

Whitefly nymphs cause the most damage to the plant. A lot of damage has already been done before you see the adult beetles.

Whiteflies have harmed several houseplants in the United States. They feed on the fluids in leaves and flower buds, causing them to become yellow.

Moreover, they eat nectar and pollen from flowers both as nymphs and adults.

Whiteflies on Houseplants in the United States

It might be a pain if a plant is infested with whiteflies, especially if you have a houseplant in Alaska. They can cause serious damage to a plant if they aren’t dealt with quickly.

Most people who own houseplants in the United States have plants with big leaves. Whiteflies can do little to no harm to a large plant.

On the other hand, people report more cases of whiteflies on houseplants in Connecticut because the plants there tend to be small because of the weather changes.

Whiteflies tend to attack seedlings and small plants. These leaves turn yellow and eventually wilt. Therefore, you need to deal with this issue early on to avoid unnecessary problems in the future.

Because whiteflies don’t know the difference between indoor and outdoor plants, any plant can be attacked by them.

Greater nymphs are produced when whiteflies breed, which might lead to more harm being done by the flies.

Where Can You Find Whiteflies?

Whiteflies can be found in nature, but they’re a nuisance in the house, particularly for plants with delicate or smooth leaves. Whiteflies aren’t dangerous to humans since they don’t live in the soil.

In the middle to late summer, when the air is more humid and hotter, you run the chance of bringing whiteflies home on a plant from an infested greenhouse.

They may survive the winter on their host plants despite their aversion to the cold.

Causes of Whiteflies on Houseplants

The following are some of the most common causes of whiteflies:

  • Plants are stressed by overwatering or underwatering.
  • A tree or shrub that isn’t appropriate for the area in which it’s planted.
  • Unsuitable hardiness zone for the area
  • Excessive use of fertilizers
  • New plants had not been adequately quarantined
  • Soil cyclicality
  • Mesh or screen doorway to the home
  • Spreading a sick or contaminated plant or product

Sources of Whiteflies on Houseplants

The following are some sources of whiteflies on houseplants:

1. Introduced Species of Plants

When you acquire a new plant from the nursery or a plant shop, the potential of pests being introduced into the existing plant is highly probable.

New plants should be quarantined for at least two weeks before you bring them into your home.

2. Fresh Soil

If you buy fresh substrate, or soil infested with worms or other bugs, you might invite whiteflies into your home. The new soil might be contaminated by pollution from the cultivated farm.

Even when the package is packed, the dirt container’s plastic may have holes, rips, tears, or bugs that might have gnawed their way in. Therefore, you should refrain from purchasing cheap soil.

3. Fissures and Crevices

Whiteflies can quickly get into your home if you’re not vigilant. There are numerous alternatives available for shielding your house from these fatal plant-eaters. 

Whitefly can get in and eat your houseplants if you have an open door or window. However, it can’t jump over because of its minuscule size.

4. Plant Species That Can Thrive in the Open Air

If you bring in plants from the outside, you risk introducing whiteflies to your houseplants.

Your house may get various leaves, herbs, fruits, vegetables, etc., that can fly off the plant and locate other food sources.

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How to Get Rid of Whiteflies on Houseplants

You don’t have to worry about whiteflies because getting rid of them is easy.

Using a homemade insecticide soap, neem oil spray, and various DIY projects can help you get rid of them and keep them away from your houseplants.

Note that adult whiteflies will run away from the disinfecting sprays. Therefore, most of the treatments are offered to eggs and nymphs.

You should spray the entire plant to get rid of whiteflies. However, concentrate your whitefly treatment sprays on the undersides of the leaves.

1. Vacuuming Insects

Vacuum up adult whiteflies using the hose attachment but be careful not to damage the plant. Make sure you vacuum thoroughly to prevent freshly born whiteflies from escaping.

Remove eggs, larvae, and adults from the foliage by vacuuming the underside of leaves with a low-suction attachment every few days.

Afterward, don’t dump your vacuum cleaner down the toilet. Remember that single whitefly can generate up to 400 eggs. Therefore, you have to be careful. Don’t hurt your plant.

2. Mist the Surface with Water

Submerge the plant entirely in the sink and give it a good soaking with the faucet sprayer. This way, you can remove whitefly adults, larvae, and eggs. Spray the insecticide on every leaf.

3. Use Sticky Traps

Use adhesive tape to control whiteflies. Connect it to the plant and follow the label’s directions. Sticky traps fitted inside pots can produce effective results.

4. Use Insecticide Soaps

Use a conventional dish detergent to make an insecticidal soap. Look for a product that doesn’t include any fragrances or other ingredients to prevent damaging plants.

You can also take a low-concentration soap and mix it with water to make an insecticide spray. Spray the plants with a hose or a nozzle.

Adult insects and their eggs can be removed by rinsing and scattering the plant. Concentrate on fresh growth and the undersides of leaves.

Insects can leap from one plant to another while you’re treating it. Therefore, you must keep the plant you’re treating away from your other plants.

5. Yellow Sticky Traps

Whiteflies perceive yellow to be a new crop of delicious vegetation to feed on. The sticky traps are usually labeled for gnats. They can also draw whiteflies on houseplants if you have any.

Try smearing petroleum jelly on a piece of yellow index card for a quick fix at home. They will ultimately end up joining the yellow piece, where they will get trapped and die eventually.

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Caution: Use a different method than the sticky traps to eliminate any eggs that remain on the leaf’s underside. Otherwise, the eggs will keep returning.

Once the whiteflies are gone, you should stock up on sticky traps as a prophylactic measure. Several sticky traps, such as tape and stakes, are readily available in the market.

You can get rid of white flies on houseplants in the United States by spraying the underside of the plant. The best times to use this spray are in the mornings or evenings when it is cooler outside.

As a precaution against photosynthesis being hampered, avoid spraying your plant’s leaves at the tops where whiteflies are less likely to cluster.

6. Keep the Foliage Clipped

Whiteflies can be kept at bay if you keep your foliage clipped. Combine insecticides such as rubbing alcohol or dishwashing liquid and water with sticky traps to kill the bugs for an effective treatment.

Insecticides can also prevent the whiteflies from laying new eggs. Keep an eye out for a resurgence of eggs, though. This is one of the most successful methods to identify the problem.

7. Significant Use of a Natural Repellant

A simple and risk-free solution to get rid of white flies on houseplants is to place a natural repellant plant near the infected plants. It can keep whiteflies away from infected houseplants.

Plant mint, parsley, or any other strong-smelling plants such as onion, bee balm, nasturtium, or pineapple sage near the infected plant.

You can keep whiteflies at bay in conjunction with a thorough hose-down and liberal use of soap spray.

How to Make a Soap Spray

The following is an effective method to make a soap spray:

  • If you want to make your soap spray, you need one liter of warm water and eight drops of dish soap.
  • Soak one of your plant’s leaves in soap to check whether or not it affects the water before moving on to other areas.
  • Dilute the leaf burn with more water or less soap after two days.
  • Once you’ve cleaned the plant and removed any dead bugs (which might attract additional pests), and rinsed it, continue the process every other day until the problem is solved.
  • Test the liquid on a single leaf first to be safe and dilute it with vinegar and water in equal parts.
  • Repeat as needed.

How to Make a Neem Oil Spray

Neem oil is a natural essential oil that is effective against pests in the short and long term because of its unique fragrance. Follow the steps given below to make neem oil spray:

  • Make a mixture of 1 teaspoon of Neem oil, two tablespoons of dish soap, and 1 liter of water.
  • Sprayed the mixture on the underside of the leaves to help them stick.
  • Test for leaf burn on a single leaf.
  • Dilute as needed.

Reapply the oil every few days to keep the whiteflies at bay. Be sure to rinse the dead bugs off after the oil has done its job.

Applying Neem oil regularly can also help prevent new infestations. You should apply Neem oil sparingly to plants exposed to direct sunlight, as the oil may trap heat and dry out the plant.

How to Get Rid of White Flies on Houseplants
How to Get Rid of White Flies on Houseplants

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Prevention of White Flies on Houseplants

The following are the effective ways to keep the whiteflies away from houseplants:

  • Perform a careful investigation before adding any new plants to your house.
  • Keep them apart from other plants in a secluded location for a few days.
  • Use pyrethrin or neem oil on any infected plants before bringing them into your home.
  • Once your plants have been brought indoors, watch out for whitefly infestations and remove any plainly affected leaves.
  • Ladybugs and lacewings can feed on whitefly larvae if plants are left outdoors in the summer. Treat the plant with pyrethrin or nectar oil before bringing them into your home.
  •  Mint, cilantro, and sage have strong aromas that can prevent whiteflies. Plant them closely to maximize their effectiveness.

Final Words

Getting rid of whiteflies on houseplants in the United States has become easier than ever. All you need to do is keep an eye out for the infestation. Isolate the plant if you find any sign of whiteflies.

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