It is one of the most common pests of the summer and, also, of the most aggressive. A good reason to know how to fight whitefly from the moment we detect it. Because, although his appearance is harmless, nothing is further from reality. A whitefly pest will not only colonize our plants at a speed of vertigo. It will also seriously compromise your health, to the point of ending your life.
Fighting whitefly is one of the usual headaches for plant and vegetable lovers. An annoying insect that usually appears in early spring and can spread throughout the summer. And we say this because its capacity for expansion is amazing: a single female can get to lay 300 eggs at once. A number that already gives us a clue to how far this little insect can become dangerous to our nature.
And no: we cannot prevent him from making an appearance. But what is in our hands is to know it well and, more importantly, closely monitor our plants.
KNOW THE INSECT AND IT’S EFFECTS, THE FIRST STEP TO COMBAT THE WHITE FLY
The whitefly is an insect that occurs mainly in temperate and humid climates. Its size, between one and three millimeters, is not proportionate to the devastating effect it has on plants. And we say devastating because that is its effect. The whitefly is an insect that feeds on sap. Vegetal blood that sucks without rest, since we speak of extremely voracious insects.
If you have had to consider eliminating pests from the garden, this modus operandi will be very familiar to you. And, despite its name, the whitefly belongs, like the aphid, to the bed bug family. They share with the aphid both their way of feeding and their voracity. The main difference between them: they have wings. A detail that is not minor. Thanks to them, whiteflies locate their targets. Something that also plays in our favor, since this detail is precisely what will allow us to identify if they are present in our plants.
How whitefly manifests in our plants
Fighting the whitefly goes through identifying this tiny insect and knowing what its effects are on our plants. And they are not minors. Because, although the most visible is to see how the flowering of our outdoor plants is ruined or how the garden plants do not bear fruit, the effects of this insect go much further. Those losses are only the visible part of the problem. The worst, actually, is that they are a symptom that our plant is weakening.
This, in reality, is only the first step of infection because of this insect. The loss of flowers or lack of fruits will be followed by other symptoms that are even more alarming: the appearance of lighter areas between the usual green of the leaves, yellow and dry leaves, and, finally, the appearance of opportunistic conditions. The last definitive push to further compromise the health of our plant.
And we say this because the whitefly secretes molasses on the leaves. A substance that acts as a true magnet for the black fungus. And let’s be honest: if in addition to fighting the whitefly, we have to consider eliminating the imaging, the name that this fungus receives, our plant will not resist it.
What can cause the appearance of whitefly
As we said, the appearance of the whitefly is inevitable. However, when it becomes a recurring plague, it is a clear sign that we are not doing something right. It can be a consequence of an excess or defect of irrigation or sun; or have a weakened plant, either due to lack of fertilizer or care.
In the case of the garden, in addition to these aspects, we must contemplate some more. From an excess of nitrogen in the land caused by excessive fertilization to not be respectful of the sowing schedules by having monocultures that do not favor diversity. The range of causes is wide and, without a doubt.
IDENTIFY IT EARLY, ANOTHER ESSENTIAL STEP TO COMBAT WHITE FLY
Prevention is essential to fight whitefly. A task that begins in the observation of our plants, from the moment in which the good weather begins.
The whitefly is usually located, in the first stage, on the underside of the leaves. Since its size is so small, it is not easy to detect it with the naked eye. We will have to help ourselves with a magnifying glass to be able to see them, although, in many cases, it will be enough with something much simpler: move the leaves. If we are facing insects in the adult phase, we will see them flutter around the plant before our movement.
Once detected, it is essential to focus on the task of fighting whitefly. And it will not be enough with a single dose of insecticide, but we will have to be rigorous both with the doses and with the way of applying it. Only then will we be able to stop it and even eliminate it.