“Oh, it’s just a Fly! Don’t let the name fool you – unlike regular black flies, whiteflies can quickly take over your grow room and damage your plants! Whiteflies are more like spider-mites, in that they have tiny sharp, needle like mouth parts. They suck the sap out of your leaves! They also leave behind a stick residue known as honeydew. (EW, Insect Poop!) This honeydew attracts sooty mold.
The life cycle of a White Fly consists of four stages:
Crawlers hatch from the eggs. Much like their name suggest they move around the plant for a few hours before finding a place to settle. Crawlers take 20 days to become an adult, during which time it will grow through its different nymph stages. During this entire process the Nymph will feed on your plant, sucking its sap! (And in the process producing Honeydew!) A by-product of the White Fly morphing into each further stage of its life cycle leaves behind an exo-skeleton.
Identifying An Adult?
As soon as a White Fly emerges from its last Nymph stage it will begin to secrete a wax over its entire body. They will start to feed on your plants right away. They look like tiny white flies. They are 1 to 3mm in length with tiny black bodies covered in a white wax. You may see them flying around your garden. They also like to get together on the under-side of the plants leaves.Check underneath your plants leaves for White Flies or Eggs. You can also try vigorously shaking your plant, causing the White Flies to fly around the room.
Oh No! I Have White Flies!
All hope is not lost! The sooner you catch them, the better! Before moving any further, carefully prune any heavily infested areas of the plant. Put them in a bag, tie it off, and throw it in the garbage.Then proceed to treating your plants. You have two options…To fight this like a natural, organic gardener would. Or to go all out nuclear and pull out the chemicals.
Let’s consider the natural options first.
A Natural Solution – Mix 1 Gallon of Water, 2 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil, 2 Tablespoons Soap (Not detergent. Ivory seems to work well). Spray this solution thoroughly on plants, remembering to get the bottoms of the leaves as well. Repeat every 3 days (or twice a week) until problem subsides. In addition to spraying them down, also make sure to hang some yellow stick traps. That will show those flying buggers who’s boss! A second known organic method for controlling White Flies is Lady Bugs. They will thrive and feed off the White Flies. Three additional options for natural predators include; Cales Noacki, Encarsia Formosa, Macrolophus Caliginosus.
Bringing out the Nukes (NOTE FROM KATSU – I’m not inclined to resort to the nukes – if shit’s that bad, I just throw in the towel and start from scratch)
Before trying Insecticidal Soap, a slightly less invasive option would be Garden Dust. These products can contain Pyrethrin which is known to kill White Flies. (It can also be used to control other insects).
Insecticidal Soap or Spinosad are both known to kill White Flies. Here is an “OMRI” Listed product that is vegetable safe. Keep in mind, when working with any chemicals, it is advised against spraying any chemicals on Buds close to harvest.
Remember, catch them quick, stay on top of them, and your plants will make it out alright!”
A special thanks to guest author Danny Terpintine for providing this excellent information!