The white fly or whitefly is part of the large family of insects belonging to the hemiptera, and they are very small since 3 mm is really their maximum, far from the size of a common fly. They are whitish, with wings a little farinaceous aspect, and fly away as soon as you move the plant. On the other hand, the laid larvae remain in place and will hatch even if the adults have fled.
The damage caused by the white fly
The whitefly or whitefly feeds on the sap of the plants it sucks by pricking it: the scar and the honeydew that these insects leave weaken the plant and create black spots of sooty mold. In addition, white flies transmit viral diseases, by their bites.
The white fly is the # 1 enemy of a large number of vegetable plants among which we can mention the tomato, for example. But many others such as potatoes, cucurbits of all kinds, citrus fruits and greenhouse plants are particularly the target of its attacks, as well as ornamental plants such as rhododendron. Houseplants are not immune to white flies either.
The white fly is distinguished according to its prey: in the greenhouses, it is the Trialeurodes vaporariorum that will rage, while on citrus you will find Aleurothrixus floccosus and Dialeurodes citri for example.
Fight against the white fly
Flee the chemical insecticides that poison the healer, the plant, the land, the fruit and its eater! Especially as white flies are quite resistant. One of the few preparations to fight against the whitefly in the garden is that which is also used for aphids, based on black soap.
Biological control can also be done with the introduction, in fine weather, of predatory insects such as green stink bug Macrolophus caliginosus and the microguêpe Encarsia formosa who eat white flies and eggs: greenhouse gardeners have been using this successfully for a long time. Why not you?
(photo credit: Creative Commons by Christophe Quintin)