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Small white winged sap-sucking flies that are not
true flies. They resemble tiny white moths with
a wingspan of 3mm. Whiteflies have become very prevalent
in recent years and there are several different
types which are major pests for home gardeners.
The silverleaf whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) and the
greenhouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorium).
If the plant is disturbed, a cloud of tiny insects
fly out but they soon settle back onto the same
plant. Both the adult and juvenile (nymph) whiteflies
suck the juices from the plant. Favoured plants
are hibiscus, poinsettia, gerberas, herbs such as
sage and mint, vegetable seedlings such as squash,
melon, eggplant, cabbage and bean, tomato and broccoli.
White fly are best controlled using alternating
sprays such as Confidor, as the insects can build
up chemical resistance very quickly. Alternating
insecticides help to prevent this from happening.
Spraying is best done in the early morning or late
afternoon when the insects are more restful.
Wilting and stunting of new shoots. Can cause silvering
and yellowing of leaves (eg. squash) and uneven
ripening of tomatoes and sometimes plant death.
Sooty mould often accompanies large numbers of white
flies as they excrete honeydew when feeding on plant