Spring Garden Tips

Hibiscus with White Flies

I moved my hibiscus in for the winter and discovered it is covered with white flies. Where did they come from and how can I get rid of them?

Hibiscus with White Flies

Whiteflies often catch a ride into the house or garden on new plants. Fortunately outdoor plants usually tolerate their feeding and these pests will die during cold northern winter. The problem occurs when the white flies move indoors. Their feeding can further weaken our already stressed houseplants. Try placing yellow sticky traps in or near the infested plants. Trapping will often reduce the population enough to keep the insect damage to a tolerable level. If the plants are suffering you may want to use an insecticide. You will need three applications applied five days apart. Start with insecticidal soap or Neem. These are more environmentally friendly chemicals that may provide relief. Resmethrin and permethrin have proved effective against white flies. Be sure to spray the plants in an area with good air circulation. And as always be sure to read and follow all label directions carefully.

Photo: Scott Bauer USDA ARS

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