Whiteflies on Vegetables

Facts, Identification & Control

Latin Name

Family Aleyrodidae

Appearance

Whiteflies might be mistaken for a fly, but they are not actually members of the fly family. They are belong to the order of true bugs Hemiptera. Whiteflies have two pair of powdery, mothlike wings as adults. Whiteflies have a rapid reproduction cycle and cause significant damage to garden and potted plants. These insects thrive in tropical and subtropical regions and are becoming increasingly troublesome for large-scale agricultural farms. Economic losses from white fly infestations are estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

The diet of whiteflies consists of juices they extract from plants. All stages usually are found on the underside of plant leaves.

Reproduction

Females deposit between 200 and 400 eggs.

Signs of a Whitefly Infestation

Plants infested with whiteflies may have yellowing leaves which eventually drop. Whiteflies excrete a sugary substance called honeydew as a by-product of their feeding. This can appear as a shiny residue on plants. As the honeydew ages, mold may grow in it. A final sign would be the adults which may be seen flying from a shaken plant.

More Information

Unfortunately, many species of whitefly have become resistant to some commercially available pesticides, and growers may need to explore other options such as sticky traps to combat an infestation. Lawn and garden professionals can also assist in addressing white fly problems.

What Attracts Flies?

Flies on Food