White fly are tiny white/cream/silvery pests with two whitish wings on its back, commonly found on vegetable and ornamental plants. You can tell where they have been feeding as they leave a whitish powdery wax behind them. Like aphids they suck the sap out of the plants and excrete sweet honeydew, but this honeydew can cause the leaves to go mouldy. They lay oval shaped eggs vertically underneath the leaves and can be very difficult to see. The eggs hatch up to 23 days later, into a nymph. These nymphs don’t move around much as they do not have wings at this stage, but they can still cause a lot of damage feeding.
The odd one or two white fly won’t cause much trouble within your garden, but in large populations they can make the leaves turn yellow or appear dry and fall off. Like aphids their excrement is like sweet honey dew which ants love but the dew can also cause mould to form. The plants growth can be reduced and can lead to poor yields.
Whitefly’s are one of the bugs that are quiet difficult to eradicate without pesticides or insecticides. Instead prevention is the most important thing to do. Place sticky traps round your garden to help catch the adults. Remove any infected leaves and dispose in a plastic bag and throw away. Where the white flies are at their nymph stage an insecticidal soap can be sprayed or a gentle hose to wash off infected areas, but if they are adults with wings the soap does have to touch them for it to work. A good tip is to spray as early in the morning as possible, this is when they are at their laziest. There are biologicals available online that are brilliant for prevention but only work in greenhouse’s not outside.