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We have white flys, and they seem to be killing our bush. What can we do to get rid of them?
- Oakland, OR
Whiteflies are more than a nuisance. Not only do they suck plant juices from tender young growth, but they also secrete a sticky honeydew which creates an ideal environment for certain diseases to flourish. Thankfully there are simple and safe solutions to knock them out. The first natural solution is to spray plants with an insecticidal soap spray, which ultimately suffocates and kills soft-bodied insects like aphids and whiteflies. Second option is to place yellow sticky traps on the plant. When you shake the plant the adults will take wing and be drawn to the trap and get stuck when they land. Both of these options can be found at any garden department at stores or at garden centers. Another option is to buy and release its natural predator, which is a tiny non-stinging wasp called Encarsia formosa. We had issues with whiteflies on our greenhouse tomato plants one year and released these very effective predators--no more white flies. Ladybugs and lacewings (which can also be purchased online or at select garden centers and nurseries) also prey on whiteflies. Good luck!