How To Kill Whiteflies On Houseplants

Adult whiteflies can be easily eliminated without hurting plants using a simple solution made from liquid dish detergent and water. Mix well 1 gallon of water with 1 spoonful of liquid dish soap. Fill a plastic spray bottle with the mixture, then use it to saturate the stems, upper and lower surfaces of the leaves on all infected plants.

Adult white flies will be killed by the dish soap solution. In 3 to 4 days, the eggs will hatch and reinfest the plants if they are left there. Affected plants should be resprayed every several days to eliminate any whiteflies that have hatched in the interim.

How can I eradicate white flies from my indoor plants?

The best times to tackle your whitefly problem are in the morning or the evening, when they will be at their most inactive. To ensure that the whiteflies won’t return, combine the techniques listed below, and you might need to repeat treatments every few days until the problem is resolved.


To disperse adults and assist in displacing eggs and larvae, take your plant outside and give it a good hose-down. Pay close attention to new growth and the underside of leaves. Then, keep it away from your other plants while you treat it so the insects don’t hop to another plant.


Yellow appears to whiteflies as a bounty of appetizing fresh leaves. Check out our yellow sticky trap packets (they’re labeled for gnats but will definitely work for whiteflies and other flying pests, too) for an easy time attracting them. Try covering a yellow index card with petroleum jelly as a do-it-yourself substitute. They will become drawn to the yellow in any scenario, become trapped, and pass away. Always utilize another approach described here in addition to the sticky traps since if you employ this method, you’ll still have to deal with any eggs left on the underside of leaves. Otherwise, they’ll keep returning. It’s not a terrible idea to keep fresh sticky traps set up as a preventative measure once you’ve dealt with the whiteflies. Choose the sticky trap that works best for you from the various alternatives available (including tape and stakes).

Utilize a vacuum.

Every few days, carefully vacuum the underside of leaves using a handheld attachment on your vacuum with a low suction setting to gather eggs, larvae, and adults alike. Don’t forget to empty your vacuum outside after using it! Keep in mind that a single female whitefly can produce over 400 eggs, so be thorough to protect your plant.


These pests can be eliminated by applying soap or neem oil on the underside of your plant’s leaves. Spray when it’s cooler, such as in the mornings or nights, for greatest benefits. Spraying the top surfaces of your plant’s leaves won’t prevent photosynthesis because whiteflies don’t hang around there. Here are several possibilities:

Try mixing 1 liter of warm water with 8 drops of dish soap to generate your own homemade soap spray, which you can then apply directly on leaves. To make sure the mixture won’t harm your plant’s leaves, test it out first on a leaf that is out of the way. Simply spray the leaf with the soap spray, then check back two days later. If you see leaf burn, thin the mixture slightly by adding more water or less soap. Spray the soap spray on the underside of each leaf, rinse the plant to remove the dead insects (since they may attract new pests), and repeat the process every other day until the issue is resolved. To totally get rid of the bugs, this procedure could take a few weeks.

Equal parts vinegar and water will also work, but test the mixture first on a single leaf and adjust the dilution as necessary. Iterate as necessary.

Natural essential oil neem works wonderfully at treating and preventing pests, and its smell has long-lasting effects. You can produce an optional solution of 1 teaspoon Neem oil, 1 tablespoon dish soap, and 1 liter of water and apply it with a spray bottle on the underside of the leaves of your plant to help it adhere. If with the other combinations, make sure to test for leaf burn on a single leaf first and diluted as necessary. Apply the oil again every few days until all whiteflies have disappeared, and when the oil has taken effect, be sure to rinse the dead insects off. You can also apply neem oil sometimes as a preventative strategy to fight off potential infestations. Neem oil should not be applied to plants exposed to direct sunlight as it may trap heat and cause the plant to become dehydrated.


A effective technique to control a reduced whitefly population is to keep your leaves clipped. For an efficient treatment, use sticky traps in conjunction with trimming any leaves that have visible eggs or larvae and plunge them in a basin of rubbing alcohol, dish detergent, or water to kill the pests. Then, deal with the fliers before they lay any more eggs (but keep an eye out for a resurgence of eggs). When you spot the issue early on, this works best.

Use a NATURAL REPELLANT, number six

Adding a naturally repellent plant close to your affected plants (after isolating it for a few days to guarantee its health first! ) is a safe, simple technique to help repel whiteflies. Whiteflies can be deterred by plants with strong scents like mint, parsley, cilantro, onion, or any other aromatic plant; other choices include nasturtiums, zinnias, pineapple sage, hummingbird brush, or bee balm. After displacing and eliminating eggs and larvae, it can aid in the prevention of whiteflies if used in conjunction with a thorough hose-down and a soap spray.

Will vinegar eliminate whiteflies?

The whiteflies in your greenhouse can cause havoc. Because of their rapid growth, these tiny, soft-bodied greenhouse pests can swiftly take over your greenhouse. Your plants’ juices are sucked out by them, causing yellowing or leaf drop. White flies release honeydew, which coats the leaves of your plants with a sticky layer. To keep these garden pests under control, your greenhouse needs close observation. In order to save your plants after an infestation, you must act immediately.

Use of yellow sticky traps is a helpful strategy for keeping an eye on the whitefly population. Yellow is a color that attracts white flies. A sticky material, such as axle grease, can be applied to yellow poster board to create the traps. In your greenhouse, make a hole in the poster board, and then hang the traps from it near the affected plants. When the traps lose their stickiness, reapply the grease. Although the traps won’t be sufficient on their own to eradicate a white fly infestation, they will assist you identify when their number is expanding.

Use of insecticidal soap is one efficient and all-natural method of eradicating pests in greenhouses that cause whiteflies. To get rid of the pests, you can mix up a DIY batch of insecticidal soap or buy a commercial spray like Flower Pharm insecticidal soap.

Make your own insecticidal soap by combining one gallon of water, two tablespoons of baking soda, two tablespoons of dishwashing liquid, and two tablespoons of white vinegar. Where the white fly eggs, scale, and adults are found on your plants’ leaves, spray the pesticide. Since the bugs will only perish when they come into direct contact with the spray, this can take some time. It is necessary to spray each leaf. To keep the white files under control, you must be diligent and apply the spray every three to five days. Use soaps to protect plants from potential harm when they are not under drought stress and when the temperature is below 80F. To ensure that the insecticidal soap won’t burn the leaves on your plants, test it first. Spray some soap on some leaves, and after two days, check to see whether any of them burn. Try diluting the spray with extra water and retest if burning happens. For the successful control of white flies and other pests in greenhouses, use insecticidal soap. The disadvantages are that it typically takes a lot of time and can potentially kill beneficial bugs.

Utilizing helpful insects in your greenhouse is an alternative to the time-consuming task of spraying insecticidal soap. Encarsia formosa is particularly good at getting rid of white flies in greenhouses. Whitefly scales are stung by these small parasite wasps, which then lay their eggs inside the whitefly. The white fly is consumed from the inside out while the wasp larvae grow. Encarsia can only be used in late spring and summer because it needs warm temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees. Whitefly and other undesirable bugs are also consumed by green lacewings and ladybugs. Both of these bugs are available for purchase through mail order services. To control any infestation, it is best to set up a schedule for receiving the bugs at regular intervals for a few months. To protect your investment, avoid using sticky traps and insecticidal soaps while releasing beneficial bugs.

As a final reminder, wash off any gummy honeydew residue left on your plants’ leaves to prevent disease.

Why do plants develop white flies?

In South Florida, whiteflies are a frequent insect that harms greenhouse, agricultural, and garden plants. Whiteflies are tiny, winged insects that resemble moths; however, despite their name, they are neither flies nor moths. They are covered in a waxy white coating. Whiteflies are members of the group of insects known as “real bugs,” and they are most related to aphids, mealybugs, and scale insects. By sucking off nutrients from plant tissue with their hair-like, piercing mouthparts, whiteflies harm ornamental plants in South Florida like Ficus trees and floral plants. These elusive pests can go undetected until leaves start to turn yellow or take on a transparent appearance because whiteflies lay their eggs on the underside of plant leaves, where those mature whiteflies may spend their whole lives. Recurring whitefly infestations can cause serious harm to landscaping plants, flowers, fruits, and vegetables since they are challenging to find and manage.

Whiteflies can be challenging to eradicate, and persistent infestations can cause serious plant damage. Whitefly infestations can be brought on by a number of circumstances in South Florida, but the best course of action is to prevent them.

  • When selecting decorative plants for your landscaping, look at the underside of the leaves.
  • For a while, keep new plants apart from your existing plants until you are certain that whiteflies are not there.
  • To get rid of any whiteflies that could be on your plants, spray them with a garden hose early in the morning or late at night.

Whitefly control has become much more difficult in recent years due to an increase in pesticide resistance. To reduce whiteflies in South Florida, it is now advised to use pesticides more frequently and to rotate different types of insecticides.

Whitefly infestations in South Florida landscapes may result from a number of factors, including:

  • Drought To prevent dehydration in the sweltering summer months, you might need to water your plants more frequently in the evening or early in the morning during extended periods of dry, hot weather. Plants under water stress are more vulnerable to whitefly assault. Additionally, hot weather creates ideal circumstances for whitefly reproduction, increasing the overall population of insects. In addition to drought conditions favoring the reproduction of whitefly populations, plant leaves and stems offer piercing, sucking insects a source of water.
  • No predators present The development of natural whitefly predators like ladybugs, lacewings, spiders, dragonflies, beetles, mites, and parasitized wasps is hindered by arid conditions, which boost whitefly numbers. More whiteflies are created to attack your plants since there are fewer whitefly predators.
  • Use of Insecticide Broad-spectrum pesticides have a negative net impact. Many of these commercial insecticides can’t target specific bug types, thus they kill all insects, including helpful whitefly predators, in addition to killing whiteflies. By removing whitefly predators, infestations are exacerbated and given more room to grow. More importantly, pesticides can kill key pollinators like bees, which is terrible for the ecosystem of your garden and also has an impact on the world’s food supply. The National Gardening Association claims that a straightforward mixture of water and dish soap can aid in managing and discouraging whiteflies.
  • Fertilizer with Nitrogen Whiteflies enjoy your nitrogen-rich plants just as much as your plants appreciate nitrogen-rich fertilizers. Frequent infestations may result from excessive nitrogen fertilization. While nitrogen can increase your plants’ health, too much nitrogen in your garden might draw whiteflies, resulting in more frequent infestations.

Do you have a whitefly problem in your South Florida garden? If you believe whiteflies are present, take action right once because they will swiftly spread around your yard and into your neighbors’. Petri Pest Control Services’ whitefly specialists are available to answer your questions about treating for whiteflies in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Do whiteflies get killed by Dawn dish soap?

Because the fatty acid in Dawn dish detergent destroys the exoskeleton of these soft-bodied insects, you can use it to kill aphids or whiteflies. They lose water as a result and pass away. Spray these pests with a solution made by dissolving a tiny amount of Dawn dish soap in water to a 2 percent solution.

How can I avoid getting infested by whiteflies?

Since whiteflies are not “real flies at all,” they all experience identity crises. They resemble small, snow-white “moths,” but in reality, they are closely related to sap-sucking aphids. Aphid-cast skins can be mistaken for whiteflies, but when startled, whiteflies will rise and take off right immediately.

They are challenging to control due to their swift flight style and ability to camouflage on the underside of leaves. Whiteflies are also abundant because they multiply quickly—from two to four, then eight to eight, then sixteen, and so on. Whiteflies can develop from the egg stage to an adult (ready to lay new eggs) in as little as 16 days during the hottest portion of the summer.

Whiteflies can harm a plant in two different ways. The first one is regarded as “direct damage.” Whiteflies can cause major damage to plants by sucking their juices, which makes their leaves turn yellow, shrivel, and die off too soon. It’s possible for plants to die if there are enough whiteflies on each leaf. The second, also referred to as “indirect damage,” is brought on by adult whiteflies. Through their mouthparts, they can spread a number of viruses from sick plants to healthy ones. Similar to aphids, whiteflies also secrete “honeydew,” a delicious substance that coats leaves in a sticky film. A fungus known as “sooty mold” quickly colonizes the honeydew, turning the leaves filthy and black. Sooty mold is mostly innocuous unless it is particularly prevalent and blocks light from reaching leaf surfaces, stressing plants. On strong plants, sooty mold is easily removed with a strong stream of water.

Frequently, if there are large numbers of whiteflies, there are probably also lots of ants around as well. Because they adore honeydew, Argentine ants shield whiteflies from their predators to ensure a steady supply (beneficials).

The greenhouse whitefly is most likely the most prevalent whitefly in California. It is widely dispersed over the state and is frequently seen on indoor houseplants, inside greenhouses, and in outdoor plantings. Like many insects, whiteflies have nymphal and adult phases. Adults spend their whole life cycle on the underside of leaves, where they randomly lay eggs in arcs or circles. Whitefly nymphs are little, oval-shaped insects without wings, visible legs, or antennae. The adults that emerge from fully developed nymphs have wings and resemble extremely small moths.

Infestations of hibiscus and other landscape ornaments in California are being caused by the enormous whitefly, sometimes known as the Mexican whitefly. In 1992, San Diego County was the site of its initial discovery. These days, it can be found in Southern California, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and some of Arizona. Giant whiteflies are larger than many other species of whiteflies, hence the name. Adults of this species leave wax spirals as they move across leaves, which can be recognized. Both the top and lower leaf surfaces have these deposits. These waxy coatings are frequently where eggs are placed. The wax filaments that the nymphs make are up to 2 inches long and resemble long hair. Affected leaves appear to have beards because to these filaments.

Keep away from host plants that are visually appealing. Hibiscus, huge bird of paradise, orchids, bananas, mulberries, several types of citrus, and avocados are all very alluring to giant whiteflies. If you already have these plants in your landscaping, keep a close eye on them to see any early infestations. Early discovery, strict cleanliness, and washing plants with a strong stream of water will be necessary for the control of this newly acquired pest (syringing).

Recognize helpful insects by yourself. The small parasitic wasps that lay their eggs inside the bodies of whiteflies are among the most significant natural enemies of whiteflies. People cannot be stung by these small insects.

Planting a variety of flowering plants or specific insectory plants will attract beneficial insects to your garden and give them the habitat they require (see the article or fact sheet in this series titled “Naturally Managing Pests… With a Healthy Garden”) (food and shelter). Small birds, spiders, lacewings, ladybugs, and big-eyed bugs are some of the whiteflies’ natural adversaries.

To catch an invasion early in the season, hang sticky traps above the plants.

Use fertilizers with a delayed release. Maintain strong plant development while avoiding excessive nitrogen fertilization. Some aphids may multiply more quickly as a result of overstimulated succulent plant growth brought on by excess nitrogen. Because they steadily release reasonable levels of nutrients, organic fertilizers are preferable.

To keep pests like whiteflies and other critters out while allowing air, light, and irrigation water to reach plants, use a row cover (like FastStart).

Spray or paint a 4-wide sticky barrier (like Tanglefoot, Stickem, or Tree Pest Barrier) around woody plants or trees to control ants. (See the series’ article or fact sheet on Ant.) A protective layer of white latex paint should be put to the trunk of many delicate trees, such as citrus, before the sticky barrier.

To get rid of honeydew and whiteflies, syringe water over the undersides of the leaves on robust plants. Syringing outperformed chemical treatments in experiments conducted at the University of California, where side-by-side comparisons with a number of pesticides showed that it did so as well as or better.

Early in the morning, when whiteflies are cold and moving slowly, vacuum them. By doing this, adults are eliminated before they can produce new eggs. Empty the vacuum bag into a sealed plastic bag after vacuuming, then remove it from the premises.

Remove the plant’s highly infected areas by pruning. The removed item needs to be sealed in plastic bags before being taken off the premises. Don’t compost; properly dispose of.

Invest in helpful insects. Delphastus, a little black ladybug, is a voracious eater that may eat up to 150 whitefly eggs in one day. These tiny, black beetles, which are incredibly nimble, are frequently employed in greenhouse settings. Release the beetle outdoors under a row cover (like FastStart), where it will concentrate its efforts there. The little wasp Encarsia formosa is a significant whitefly parasitoid and predator. Whitefly nymphs are killed by Encarsia wasps in one of two ways: either they lay an egg inside the nymph, which serves as food for their young, or they are immediately killed and eaten. The whitefly nymphs turn black and stop feeding after being parasitized.

Use insecticidal soaps to eliminate whiteflies instantly while sparing helpful insects from harm. Effective use requires that the underside of the leaves be properly covered. These goods spare the harm of hazardous residues, protecting the natural enemies.

To control whiteflies while limiting negative effects on natural enemies, use spray (horticultural) oils.

Imidicloprid is a freshly released product that has shown to be highly efficient against whiteflies and is minimal in toxicity. When a plant is particularly thirsty, it is diluted with water and applied as a drench to the base of the plant. The roots then take it up into the plant. It just needs to be used once a year. Observe the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Avoid using imidacloprid during the month before or during bloom to preserve bees. Imidacloprid exposure in the nectar and pollen of young trees can be avoided by pruning off blossoms before they open.