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How to Get Rid of Small Flies on House Plants

By April Sanders ; Updated September 21, 2017

Flies can arrive seemingly overnight on your house plants, rising up in a swarm of tiny bodies when you brush against the plant or water the soil. Whiteflies commonly infest foliage plants, hiding under the leaves or along the stem. There are many different types of whiteflies, all of which are sucking insects and can severely damage a house plant, according to information published by the University of California. Monitor your house plant carefully for these destructive pests and take action immediately upon noticing their presence.

Remove the infested plant from other, nearby houseplants to isolate the whiteflies.

Examine the undersides of the leaves for severe infestations. Pluck off any leaves that are heavily covered with whiteflies.

Rinse the plant off, or use a syringe to squirt on individual whiteflies and small groups of the insects. Washing the plant once a week can help control infestations, according to information published by the Kearny Agricultural Center.

Vacuum the remaining whiteflies off the leaves. This can be very effective, according to information published by the University of California. Vacuum early in the morning, on a cool day. Whiteflies are less active when it is cool. Freeze the vacuum bag overnight to kill the bugs.

Spray the plant with an insecticide or wash it with an insecticidal soap. Be sure to target the whiteflies underneath the leaves.


Things You Will Need

  • Syringe
  • Small vacuum
  • Insecticidal spray or soap


  • Yellow sticky traps can trap and kill adult flying whiteflies, although they will not kill the ones hiding underneath the leaves. They are sold at most garden centers. Hang them near the plant, or place them on top of the soil.