How to Get Rid of Whiteflies

Frankie Help! There are Bugs on my Hibiscus!

We have been getting a lot of viewer emails and inquiries at Frankie Flowers about how to get rid of whiteflies. These small flying insects found on indoor plants, especially Hibiscus, feed on the undersides of plant leaves, causing leaves to yellow and fall off prematurely. These flies often make their way inside when tropical plants such as Hibiscus are brought indoors for the winter, or they can come from the green house or nursery, although most growers do a great job monitoring and controlling. White flies lay eggs in the soil, eventually becoming the small, adult flies that fly about eating away at your plant leaves and driving you nuts. The adults mate, lay eggs in the soil and the whole cycle is repeated. They will keep coming if you don’t stop them. They are not always easy to get rid of, but here are some options: 1. Change the soil: Repot the plant into new soil, protecting the roots as much as possible while doing so. Make sure the pot itself is scrubbed clean before you put the plant and new soil back. 2. Soak the Soil: If you don’t want to change the soil, soak the pot in the tub of lukewarm, soapy water so the soil is completely saturated for about 15-20 minutes. This will force or drown and insect hitchhikers. Make sure to use a natural soap such as Ivory or regular Sunlight, avoiding anything with antibacterial and other additives. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"4155","attributes":{"class":"media-image aligncenter wp-image-3229","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"300","height":"225","alt":"Soap bubbles free images small"}}]] 3. Soapy Spray: Spraying soapy water every few days onto the underside of the foliage (leaves) and into the soil (to catch the adults as they emerge). Again, use natural soaps without additives. You can also try insecticidal soap which is available at garden centres and big box stores. 4. Worm casings (aka worm poop): We haven’t tried this at Frankie Flowers, but we’ve heard that there is something in worm poop that white flies don’t like. Not sure what, but my theory is that there might be a bacteria in the worm poop that doesn’t sit well with the flies (can you blame them?) You can do a google search for ‘Worm casings” to find a local supplier. Mix the casings into the top half an inch of soil and water. (If you try this, let us know how it worked!) For more details on the flies see: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05587.html