How to Kill Flying White Insects in My Flowers


When encountering small white insects buzzing around your flower plant, they're typically Trialeurodes vaporariorum, Bemisia tabaci or any of the many other different species collectively known as "whiteflies." Though they only measure a maximum of 1/16 inches long, serious infestations of whiteflies can weaken and kill your flower plants. Treat your flowers with a series of physical and chemical controls to help eradicate this pest and preserve the health and beauty of your flower bed.

Step 1

Shoot down your plants with a strong blast of water. This will dislodge and drown many types of insects, including the fragile whiteflies, and can help control limited populations of insect pests. Outdoor plants can be sprayed with a garden hose, while indoor houseplants can be placed in a bathtub under the shower head.

Step 2

Hang yellow fly traps around your flower plants. You can purchase such traps in many garden stores or make your own by coating a yellow piece of paper or cardboard with petroleum jelly. The flying insects will be drawn to the yellow color and get stuck. The University of Missouri Extension recommends hanging one yellow trap for every two flower plants.

Step 3

Spray your flower plants with an all-purpose insecticide formulated with pyrethrins, malathion, diazinon or permethrin. The latter is ideal for houseplants; all of them can be used on outdoor plants. Mist the insecticide onto all exposed surfaces of your flower plant according to its labeled guidelines, since toxicity varies by product.

Step 4

Vacuum your flower plants with a handheld vacuum as an alternative to using chemicals. Siphon off the flies off the surface of your plant in the early morning or late evening when the cooler temperatures cause the flies to move slower. Freeze the bag for 24 hours. This kills the bugs, according to the University of Missouri Extension.

Things You'll Need

  • Water hose or shower
  • Yellow fly traps
  • Insecticide
  • Vacuum


  • "American Horticultural Society Pests and Diseases: The Complete Guide to Preventing, Identifying and Treating Plant Problems"; Pippa Greenwood, et al.; 2000
  • University of Missouri Extension: Managing Whiteflies on Indoor and Outdoor Plants
Keywords: kill white insects, kill whiteflies, flower insect pests

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.