Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Kill Whiteflies on Plants

Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

Whiteflies on your plants can give you a good reason to worry. These tiny insects suck out plant juices, and a heavy infestation can weaken your plants and cause them to drop leaves. You can get rid of adult whiteflies using a basic household appliance.

Plan your attack on the whiteflies in the morning. They move more slowly when the temperature is cool, according to the University of Missouri Extension.

Turn on your hand-held vacuum. Sweep the vacuum near the foliage of your plants -- but don't touch the leaves. The whiteflies will be sucked into the vacuum.

Turn off the vacuum and remove the insect-filled vacuum bag. Slip the vacuum bag into the plastic bag and secure the end with a twist-tie. If your hand-held vacuum doesn't have a bag, keep the vacuum running and place the canister end in the plastic bag. Turn off the vacuum and pull off motor/handle section, leaving the canister inside the bag. Quickly secure the end of the plastic bag.

Put the plastic bag in the freezer for 24 hours to kill the whiteflies. Remove the plastic bag from the freezer and take out the vacuum bag or canister. Empty out the dead insects.

Ways To Kill Whiteflies

Whitefly outbreaks often occur when pesticides or other factors destroy their natural enemies. By increasing the number of beneficial predatory insects -- such as parasitic wasps, green lacewings and ladybugs -- in your garden, you will naturally control whiteflies and other sap-sucking insects. When using water to control a whitefly infestation, make sure to spray the undersides of the leaves as well as the tops. Placing the sealed vacuum bag in the freezer over night will kill the whiteflies. Nevertheless, always follow the instructions on the label. Whiteflies can be difficult to control, and preventive measures should be put in place to keep the pests from infesting your plants. Another preventive measure gardeners can take is to repel whiteflies with reflective mulches or aluminum foil placed around the plants.

Tip

The vacuuming method is best used before the whiteflies have laid a lot of eggs, according to the University of Missouri Extension.

Garden Guides
×