Defeating whitefly invasion in your garden naturally

Sometimes it feels like no matter what we do, we find our green friends holding on by their last leaf.

It’s not always because we have neglected to water them though, sometimes there are other tiny forces at large like a whitefly invasion!

These tiny sap-sucking insects are small and pale, and they love to attack soft plant tissues. They are among the most common, and damaging, plant pest, especially during the summer months.

Authors of The Abundant Garden, Niva and Yotam Kay, say “Whitefly prefer warm conditions and can attack a wide range of plants such as beans, cabbages, cucumbers, eggplants, tomatoes and ornamentals. They cause damage by sucking plants, injecting saliva, secreting honeydew that attracts mould, and spreading disease.”

“They are easy to identify, and if you shake your plant, they will scatter and fly away.”

Here are some ways you can control whitefly in your home:

Homemade spray:

Make your own insecticidal spray (without all the nasties) using one litre of water, two teaspoons of baking soda, two teaspoons of dishwashing liquid and two teaspoons of white vinegar.

Sacrificial plants:

This is a great method for preventing whitefly. Protect your most beloved plants and seasonal vegetables by offering those pesky whiteflies a sacrificial plant. Try planting marigolds, nasturtium, nicotiana, citrus or brassicas nearby – Whitefly love all of these.

Veggie pod:

Keeping your veggies in a pod is one way to keep the Whitefly away. You can purchase a pod at any home improvement or garden store. If you’ve just got a small family, then one of these should contain enough room to grow your all of your vegetables. You also won’t need to use any nasty pesticides.

Mint potion:

Slowly boil around 100g of mint in water, let cool overnight, and spray onto your plants – especially the underside of the leaves. “In concentrated form, mint tea will deter and confuse flying insects such as aphids, whitefly, and grape worm – in effect you gain all the benefits of companion planting mint without the worry of it trying to take over the garden” (Weleda, 2020, Biodynamic Gardening).

Predatory insects:

Introduce insects such as ladybugs and lacewing as natural predators.

Vacuum, yes vacuum:

Best done early in the morning when they are sluggish, use a hand vacuum to suck up the bugs.

Stick it to them:

Hang some yellow sticky fly tape to attract and trap them!

Organic options:

Try products with neem oil. The Kiwicare range of organic sprays, or a homemade solution like the one above.

Related stories that you might like:

Ode to insects – The multidimensional importance of insects – Good Magazine

Let your garden flourish – Good Magazine

Grow more, use less – a step-by-step guide to creating a sustainable garden – Good Magazine

Spread the love
Rate This Article:
Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
Sign up to our email newsletters for your weekly dose of good