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What are the Best Methods of Whitefly Control?

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  • Written By: K. Gierok
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 24 August 2016
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Whiteflies are a common garden pest which are typically attracted to tomatoes, though in some cases they may be drawn to other plants. One of the best ways to control whiteflies is by keeping plants which attract the flies away from the area that requires control. In addition, releasing whitefly predators is another successful way to combat the pests. The use of mulch and insecticide has also been found to be effective when it comes to whitefly control, though these methods appear to be best when protecting specific plants, and may not work as well when protecting a large area.

One of the best ways to ensure whitefly control is to avoid growing plants and vegetables that attract them in the first place. Studies have suggested that cabbage, melons, and cotton are among the most common plants and vegetables that whiteflies are attracted to. Ideally, in order to keep the bugs to a minimum, these products should be planted at least half a mile from areas where whitefly control is needed. Typically, the further away these plants and vegetables are planted, the better.

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Whitefly control can also be achieved by releasing Encarsia formosa into the area in question. Encarsia formosa is a specific species of wasp that has been found to be one of the primary predators responsible for whitefly control. These wasps can usually be purchased from nurseries or greenhouses, though in some cases they may also be purchased through online retailers. For best results, one wasp should be purchased for each square foot of garden or area in need of whitefly control.

Using a specific type of mulch, known as silver polyethylene mulch, has also been proven to be successful when it comes to whitefly control. This mulch works best when it comes to keeping whiteflies away from specific plants or vegetables. In addition, silver polyethylene mulch appears to be most effective when it is put in place at the time of garden planting, though it can still achieve some success later in the growing process.

Using insecticide may also be a good way to control whiteflies. While there are a number of insecticides currently on the market, those in the form of soap or oil appear to be most effective. As with silver polyethylene mulch, insecticide appears to work best when it comes to keeping whiteflies away from specific plants, and may not be best when protecting a large area from whiteflies.

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