The White Fly
Common and annoying, the whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum) is a parasite of the Aleyrodidae family. It is not one of the worst parasites that can happen to us but taking it lightly is not advisable given the possibility of damaging the cultivation and the final harvest.
It is a very small insect, more or less 1mm, that flies and is white in colour, it feeds on the sap of the plant by sucking it. If you see it, delete it immediately!
How to Spot Whitefly?
The Whitefly attacks the weakest plant at the apex and, like a louse, absorbs its lifeblood and from this base begins to attack nearby plants. It reduces the amount of chlorophyll and therefore the plant will have less vigor.
As the infestation grows, the plants suffer a slowdown in metabolism and production, the plants will appear weak and sickly also following the attack of viruses and bacteria carried by the parasite. Therefore, be very attentive to the signs of the White Fly's presence.
Presence of buzzing flies around the plant. Shake the plant and you will see these insects flying, starting from the underside of the leaves.
Yellowing of the leaves (Chlorosis) then dry out and die.
Presence of myelous substance, the honeydew which is produced by the White Fly and which causes a very serious problem, sooty mold, a harmful fungus.
Yellowish or translucent spots on the leaves.
Appearance of whitish powder under the leaves.
How to Avoid the Presence of the White Fly?
- Observe your plant carefully and regularly to identify any symptoms.
- Plant species near your crop that repel these pests, such as marigold, basil or carnations.
- Use Neem Oil or Potassium Soap preventatively.
Methods for eliminating whitefly.
To eliminate a whitefly infestation you first have to move quickly, in fact this parasite is elusive, moves quickly and reproduces at very high speed, laying hundreds of eggs. Follow these tips.
- Introduce a predatory insect, in this case the Vespa Encarsia formosa, repeating the insertion every 15/30 days. Or Macrolophus caliginosus also used for red spider mites.
- Use chromotropic traps, they are brightly colored adhesive strips that attract insects that remain attached. For Whitefly, yellow ones are used.
- Spray Neem oil or potassium soap, repeating the operation once a week until the infestation has completely disappeared.
With these indications you will be able to prevent and protect yourself from a very common parasite that could ruin all your efforts.