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Whitefly and Other Garden Pests

Where Is The Best Place To Get Bugs?… A Flea Market!

I have noticed in the last week the start up of some of the most annoying and destructive garden and greenhouse pests. The cabbage moth is starting to come around the cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and other brassards including kale. Although planting these particular plants among your tomato plants does help somewhat I find the best results I have achieved is the sprinkling of rye flour and doing that repeatedly after a good rain or watering. This works extremely well and is inexpensive, and it washes off easily. The cabbage moth will still lay its eggs but hatching larvae will eat it and as it can’t digest it they will die leaving little to no damage. Whitefly is another matter and although it will be found in your outdoor garden it can be a real problem in a greenhouse if left unchecked they are also very fond of hanging baskets. It is easily identified by its rapid flight into the air when the leaves of a plant are disturbed and although there are a variety of whitefly they are all similar in their habits and the damage that they can cause.  They become most apparent when the temperatures start to climb and fortunately our winters do not promote their overwintering although this can occur. The adult whitely likes to lay its eggs on the underside of leaves of plants like tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, egg plant, cucumber, pumpkin, sweet potato, strawberries and many flowers like petunia and I’ve found they are especially fond of gerbera daisy and roses. They do harm to the plants by sucking the juices from the leaves causing leaves to shrivel and yellow to the extent that left unchecked they will kill the plant. They also will stunt the plants growth and affect the yield of your plants and if that isn’t bad enough they are also vectors and can spread around 100 different types of diseases that will infect your plants. The honey dew that is produced by the larvae as they feast on your plants can also cause fungal diseases and mold. So when you first notice them it is time to act. The adult whitefly can live for a couple of months and will lay their eggs on the underside of the plants leaves in concentric rings and in amounts that will startle you and quickly get out of control. In 5 to 10 days the larvae or nymph will hatch they will not move far before starting to feed. They will go through several changes as they mature within a 25 day period while they feed on the plant, once they mature they will lay their eggs adding to the cycle of destruction. They can be controlled by consistent spraying of the following recipe, they have become immune to most chemical sprays. They are attracted to the colour yellow and sticky tape will also help with control. Vacuuming is also another method but could be cumbersome and if done too aggressively can also damage the plant. I cannot imagine doing a large garden or greenhouse in this manner. There are parasitic wasps that also will feast on them and lady bugs can be affective as well.

Be sure to spray early morning or evening when the temperatures are cooler and repeat this several days apart or after a heavy rain or watering to ensure success.

Garlic Spray is a good option as the sulphur in garlic will also help as an anti fungal

  • Finely blend 1/4 pound of garlic (unpeeled). 
  • 4 to 5 drops of dish washing soap
  • Add 1 quart of water then strain this mixture so it can be used in a sprayer.
  • Use one measure of this liquid and 10 measures of water for the final spray.
  • You can also add neem oil, hot pepper or mint. 

Happy Gardening!

Samantha Nason

BS Ranch & Greenhouses

250 547 6567