Pest Away Tips

7 Natural Ways to Prevent and Control Whitefly Infestations

Whiteflies are tiny, sap-sucking insects that belong to the family Aleyrodidae. They are common pests that can cause significant harm to plants due to their feeding behavior and disease transmission.

In this article, we will cover the different types of whiteflies, the plants they prefer, and the impact their infestations can have on plant health. We will also discuss natural repellents that may help control their population.

Types of Whiteflies

Whiteflies can be categorized into three main types: the greenhouse whitefly, the sweet potato whitefly, and the banded winged whitefly. The greenhouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum) is the most common, and as the name suggests, it is often found in greenhouse settings.

The sweet potato whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) is typically found in outdoor environments and is known for its ability to transmit plant viruses. The banded winged whitefly (Trialeurodes abutiloneus) has distinctive banding on its wings and is commonly found in the southern United States.

Whiteflies’ Harmful Impact on Plants

Whiteflies can cause significant damage to plants in multiple ways. Firstly, they can cause mechanical damage to the leaves as they feed on the sap.

This can lead to discoloration, curling, and distortion of the leaves. Secondly, they can transmit plant viruses, which can cause yellowing, wilting, and even death of the plant.

Lastly, large whitefly populations can lead to wilting of the plant, premature leaf drop, and stunted growth. Which Plants Do Whiteflies Like?

Whiteflies have a preference for certain plants. Among the plants that whiteflies are attracted to include tomato plants, eggplants, sweet corn, peppers, okra, cabbage, sweet potatoes, and citrus.

They tend to avoid some plants, such as chrysanthemums and marigolds. Color preferences also play a significant role, and whiteflies tend to be attracted to yellow, orange, and red plants.

Natural Repellents

There are some natural repellents that you can use to help control and prevent whiteflies. These include:


Companion planting: Planting garlic, onions, and chives around your garden can help repel whiteflies. 2.

Neem oil: Neem oil is a natural insecticide that can repel whiteflies and other pests. It works by disrupting the insect’s hormonal balance, making it harder for them to lay eggs and reproduce.

3. Insecticidal soap: Insecticidal soap is a natural solution that can help control whiteflies by disrupting the insect’s cell membranes.

It is best used as a spot treatment for small infestations. 4.

Sticky traps: Yellow sticky traps can be used to trap adult whiteflies, preventing them from laying eggs and reproducing.


Whiteflies are common pests that can cause significant harm to plants. They are attracted to certain plants and color preferences, and their populations can be controlled using natural repellents such as companion planting, neem oil, insecticidal soap, and sticky traps.

By being vigilant and taking steps to prevent whitefly infestations, you can keep your plants healthy and thriving. 3) How Do You Know You Have a Whitefly Problem?

Whiteflies are not easy to detect, especially when they are in their early stages of development. However, some signs can indicate a whitefly infestation.

Here are some things to look out for:

Identifying a Whitefly Infestation

One of the most apparent indications of a whitefly infestation is visible whiteflies. They are small, white, and look like flying dandruff.

They are active during the daytime, flying around plants when disturbed. Additionally, they tend to rest on the undersides of leaves, where they suck sap from the plant.

Another sign of a whitefly infestation is the honeydew substance they excrete. Honeydew is a sticky, sugary substance that can coat plant leaves and attract ants.

Ants feed on honeydew and will protect whiteflies from predators.

Signs of Whitefly Damage on Plants

Whiteflies can cause significant damage to plants. Some of the signs of whitefly damage include:


Pale/yellow leaves: Whiteflies suck sap from the leaves, which can cause them to turn pale and yellow. 2.

Leaf Wilting: Wilted leaves are a sign of water stress. When whiteflies suck the sap from the leaves, the plants cannot get enough water, leading to wilted leaves.

3. Leaf Loss: A severe infestation can cause the leaves to fall off prematurely, leading to poor plant growth.

4. Plant Death: An untreated whitefly infestation can lead to the death of plants.

If you notice any of the above symptoms in your plants, it is essential to take action to control the whitefly infestation.

4) Plants That Repel Whiteflies Naturally

There are several natural methods you can use to repel whiteflies. Here are some plant-based solutions that can help:


Artemisias, such as mugwort and sagebrush, are excellent natural whitefly repellants. They contain essential oils that have a bitter taste, which whiteflies do not like.

Wormwood, a type of artemisia, is known for its effectiveness in repelling whiteflies. Using wormwood as a companion plant can reduce the occurrence of whiteflies in your garden.


Basil is not only a delicious herb, but it is also an effective whitefly repellent. Its pungent smell and flavor make it difficult for whiteflies to ingest and lay eggs on tomato plants.

Basil also repels other pests such as slugs and Japanese beetles.


Epazote is a culinary and medicinal herb that has a strong aroma and taste. It is known for its effectiveness in repelling ants and is an effective natural whitefly repellent.

The scent of epazote is unpleasant to whiteflies, making them avoid plants grown near it.

French Marigold

French marigold is an insect-repelling plant that is toxic to nematodes and their eggs. It can attract beneficial insects such as lacewings and hoverflies that feed on whiteflies.

It also emits a scent that birds find attractive, which can help control whitefly populations.


Nasturtiums are colorful, edible plants that have insect-repelling properties. They produce a chemical called isothiocyanate, which is toxic to many insect pests, including whiteflies.

The plant’s flowers and leaves are edible, making them an excellent addition to salads.


Peppermint is known as “nature’s repellent,” with a peppery and fragrant smell that makes it unappealing to many pests and animals. It repels several pests, including whiteflies, spider mites, and aphids.

Additionally, peppermint’s fragrance is known to repel rodents such as mice and rats.


Thyme is an herb that repels several pests, including mosquitoes and whiteflies. Its aroma can interfere with the life cycle of whiteflies, making it challenging for them to reproduce.

Thyme can also produce beneficial flowers that attract pollinators to your garden.


Whiteflies can cause significant damage to plants and are difficult to control once they infest. Using natural methods, such as companion planting and natural repellent plants, can help prevent and control whitefly populations in your garden.

Remember to be vigilant in checking for signs of whitefly damage and infestation and take action immediately. With the right tools and knowledge, you can keep your plants healthy and thriving.

5) Other Ways of Preventing Whiteflies

In addition to using natural repellent plants, there are other preventative measures you can take to avoid the risk of whitefly infestations in your garden. Here are some additional methods:

Checking Plants Before Purchase

When purchasing plants, make sure to inspect them thoroughly for signs of whiteflies and other pests. Check the undersides of the leaves and make sure the plants are healthy before bringing them home.

Avoid purchasing any plant that looks unhealthy or has signs of pest infestation.

Avoiding Insecticides

Avoid using broad-spectrum insecticides that may harm beneficial insects as well as pests. These insecticides can eliminate predators that naturally control pests like whiteflies.

Instead, use natural methods that are safe for both your plants and the environment.

Attracting Predators

Attracting predators such as ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps is an effective way to control whitefly populations. These insects feed on whiteflies and their eggs, thus keeping their populations in check.

You can attract these beneficial insects by planting flowers such as dill, coriander, and sunflowers in your garden.

Reflective Mulch and Sticky Traps

Reflective mulch can help repel whiteflies by creating a barrier that reflects light and confuses the insects. Reflective surfaces such as aluminum foil laid on the soil or white plastic mulch can help repel whiteflies.

Sticky traps are another method that can help trap flying pests such as whiteflies and prevent them from infesting your plants.

Pruning Infested Leaves

If you notice a whitefly infestation on your plants, prune the affected leaves and dispose of them in a sealed bag. This will help prevent the infestation from spreading to other parts of the plant.

6) How to Get Rid of a Whitefly Infestation

If you have a whitefly infestation in your garden, it is essential to act quickly to control and remove the infestation. Here are some methods for removing whitefly infestations:

Natural Methods for Removing Whitefly Infestations

Natural methods such as vacuuming, pruning, and using soap solution can help control and remove a whitefly infestation. Vacuuming the affected plant with a handheld vacuum can help remove whiteflies and their eggs.

Pruning infested leaves and disposing of them in a sealed bag can prevent the infestation from spreading. Using a soap solution made from a few drops of dish soap and water can suffocate the whiteflies and help control their population.

You can also attract predators such as ladybugs and lacewings to control the infestation naturally.

Using a Garden Hose and Vacuum for Temporary Relief

Using a garden hose or vacuum can provide temporary relief from a whitefly infestation in your garden. Blasting the leaves with a strong stream of water or vacuuming the affected plant can remove whiteflies and their eggs, thus reducing their population.

It is important to follow up with natural methods to prevent the infestation from recurring. In


Whiteflies can cause significant damage to plants, but you can prevent and control infestations using natural methods and preventative measures. Checking plants before purchase, avoiding harmful insecticides, attracting predators, using reflective mulch and sticky traps, pruning infested leaves, and using soap solution are all effective ways to prevent and control whitefly infestations.

In the event of an infestation, using natural methods such as vacuuming and attracting predators can help control and remove the infestation. 7)


Prevention is crucial when it comes to managing whiteflies. It is easier to prevent an infestation from occurring than to treat one that has already taken hold.

Natural solutions, such as planting natural repellent plants, attracting predators, using reflective mulch and sticky traps, pruning infested leaves, and using soap solution, are effective and safe ways to control whitefly populations. It is also important to use safe and eco-friendly methods of pest control to avoid causing ecosystem disruption and harm to beneficial insects, birds, and other creatures.

Using natural methods, you can help maintain the health of your garden and protect the environment from harmful chemicals.

Additional Resources for Managing Whiteflies

The Master Gardeners of Ventura County offer extensive resources and information on the management of whiteflies and other pests. Their training program provides in-depth training in techniques and methods to prevent and control infestations using natural and sustainable practices.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac also provides natural remedies and techniques for preventing and controlling whiteflies, updated for the current season and region. Pest Management Science is a peer-reviewed scientific research journal that publishes articles on the management of pest insects, including whiteflies.

The papers published in this journal are valuable resources for research-based knowledge on preventing and controlling whitefly infestations at multiple levels. The Department of Entomology at the University of California, Riverside, is also a valuable resource for information and guidance on the management of whiteflies and other pests.

Their programs provide educational resources, training, and research support for students and professionals interested in pest management. In conclusion, by employing natural methods to prevent and control whitefly infestations, you can create a healthy, thriving garden without resorting to harmful chemicals.

With care and attention, you can maintain a flourishing garden that will provide beauty and sustenance for you and your family for years to come. In conclusion, whiteflies are harmful pests that can cause significant damage to plants.

Identifying a whitefly infestation early is crucial to preventing their damaging effects. Natural methods such as companion planting, the use of natural repellent plants, pruning infested leaves, and attracting beneficial insects can help control whitefly populations.

Employing safe and sustainable pest control methods is important for protecting the environment as well as promoting healthy plant growth. By taking proactive steps to prevent and control whitefly infestations, you can enjoy a thriving and beautiful garden while preserving the environment for future generations to enjoy.

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