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Organic Controls for Garden Pests
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Whitefly

Glasshouse whitefly are small white flying insects which lays eggs on the undersides of leaves. Whiteflies suck sap from their host plant and drop sticky secretions onto leaves below. Left uncontrolled they will overwhelm the plant, weakening it and flying around in huge numbers. Undersides of leaves become populated with Whiteflies adults and white eggs (scales).
Whitefly are fairly inactive in cool temperatures over Winter, but multiply very quickly in warm Spring and Summer weather. They fly about at the slightest disturbance, like tiny moths, and may even create ghostly white clouds in the air.


Click here for whitefly treatments

Identifying Whitefly

Remember whiteflies are nearly always moving. If you see white threads static on tops of the leaves, they are not whitefly but something else - very likely to be shed aphid skins dropped down from developing Aphid under leaves above. Or they could be thrips larvae. They are not "whitefly" unless body and wings are a ghostly white.

The glasshouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum)is the most common. You can recognise them by their heart-shape profile when looked from above (see picture in the middle below). Tobacco whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) have parallel wings which are longer, and when folded you can still see a strip of their back between the wings. (see photo on right) For information to help you identify your whitefly...
Click here for DEFRA information sheet on Bemisia

Biological Control

The most effective treatment for whitefly is the parasite "Encarsia". It is supplied on small cards which can be hung up around your plants. For more information about Encarsia click here

Encarsia works best with temperatures above 21C with 12hr+ daylight hours. Generally, this means introducing Encarsia from mid April to August, although it can be earlier or later with extra heat and light.

If you have tobacco whitefly, or if the temperatures are very high in midsummer, then there is another parasitic wasp called "eretmocerus" which is recommended.

Encarsia formosa cards

The Standard pack (5 cards) should give good control for an average conservatory or small greenhouse. If you have a longstanding battle with whitefly order two packs with separate delivery dates. Then you can follow up the initial treatment with a second introduction two weeks later.
The Larger pack should be used if the Whitefly infestation is very bad or the area large. .
More information...

Pack of 5 cards
7.95 inc P&P

Pack of 20 cards
17.95 inc P&P

Eretmocerus Cards

Eretmocerus cards are more expensive than encarsia. They are useful in two situations : a) if you have tobacco whitefly and not glasshouse whitefly (see above), and b) if glasshouse is too hot in the day for encarsia.
Click here for more about eretmocerus..

Pack of 5 cards
9.95 inc P&P

Pack of 20 cards
24.95 inc P&P