How to Identify Whiteflies and plant damage

Whiteflies are tiny, flying insects that feed off plants. If your plant looks unhealthy or is yellow this may be the reason, whiteflies. If you do not rid the plant of this insect the plant will be more prone to any plant disease and eventually die.

Whiteflies eat strawberries, cotton plants, vegetable plants and many houseplants.

The whitefly actually sucks out plant juices and sap from a plant which will slowly kill the plant. Even worse, whiteflies transmit diseases like sooty mold; due to the sticky honeydew the insects exude.

For whiteflies, look for tiny white flying insects.  Being very small they are hard to see with the human eye. They look more like tiny, flying, flakes of snow.

I usually see their eggs before I see the insect. Whiteflies will lay tiny eggs in crescent or circular patterns on the bottom of leaves.

Whiteflies also excrete a sticky substance called “honeydew” on the top and underside of plants’ leaves.

If you notice a sudden swarm of tiny, white, insects hovering over garden plants, they are probably whiteflies. Check for eggs and treat accordingly


If you identify whiteflies in your garden, use seaweed spray on the garden plants. Whiteflies do not like to reproduce on plants treated with seaweed spray. The spray is also environmentally friendly.

Spray affected plants with insect soap. It’s best to use insect soap when temperatures are below 80 degrees, as this natural pesticide can burn tender foliage in hot weather.

Repel whiteflies with fine horticultural oil. You can apply a light mist of this oil to plants in the early spring, when it will smother the eggs and developing whitefly larvae. This is available at most garden centers.

Plant a Nicotiana plant in the garden. These plants attract and then trap whiteflies. Nicotiana is a pretty plant and again makes use of natural environmental insect control.

Use a vacuum to remove whiteflies from houseplants. Agitate the foliage on the plants to cause the whiteflies to swarm around the plants, and then use your vacuum before they resettle to resume feeding.

Another popular form of control is using yellow sticky traps. Distribute 4 cards evenly in every 1000 feet of garden or greenhouse space. Hang the cards among the tender new growth whiteflies enjoy feeding on.

With a little care, you can spot whiteflies before they cause damage to plants. If you woudl like more information on indoor plant disease you may want to read this article, Indoor Plant Diseases.

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2 responses to “How to Identify Whiteflies and plant damage”

  1. Where can i get seaweed spray? I always get these on my grapes.

  2. Denise

    Seaweed spray can be bought at most garden centers. You can also make your own. How to Make seaweed spray Denise

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