First, some interesting facts about whiteflies:

They are white.
They are not flies.
They suck. Literally.
They belong to the vampire order of the insect world, the sucking insects (Hemiptera) and, as such, are a close relative of aphids. The adults and their larvae simply love hanging out on the underside of leaves sucking sugary phloem juices all day. When disturbed they flutter about a bit but soon want to be back in sucking position. Not only do they suck the life out of plants, they are also vectors for viruses, which cause nasty plant diseases.

Adults live four to six weeks and lay more than 100 eggs each (onto the underside of the leaf), so an army of the white suckers can quickly populate each plant. All in all, you want to make sure they don’t get too comfortable.

But remember that the whitefly is yet another seasonal pest that peaks when conditions are ideal and then quickly abates when the weather changes. This doesn’t mean you should sit back and do nothing; it just means you shouldn’t freak out and start panicking.

Optimal Conditions

When conditions warm up and rains increase


Brush against a plant and a million tiny white flies momentarily become airborne before returning to their sucking


Ensure there is a high diversity of different border- plants and flowers, particularly nasturtiums, which attract predators that become your secret helpers. This is not just some pseudo-science stuff; professional growers constantly utilise this ‘free labour’ by strategically planting border plants to attract certain bugs. The ladybird is a huge ally.


They are attracted to the colour yellow like girls to diamonds, moss to stones, snot to a toddler’s nose. Hang yellow sticky traps around the concerned plants and they will fly onto them and get stuck. One sucker after another


An organic white or eco-oil will help to eradicate the whitefly but always make sure to spray the underside of all leaves. Nicotine sprays have also been found to work. The old hippie method is to soak ciggies in water overnight and then use the water in a spray bottle

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