Whitefly- insect from hell

Because I have frozen no fruit this year besides about 20 gallons of blueberries and a couple quarts of black currants I’m filling my big chest freezer with lots of blanched and chopped greens from my garden instead. First I processed my Seafoam chard because it is more fragile to freeze than my collards and kale. Collards came next, because whitefly still seemed to be thriving on the curly kale (not the Red Russian which seems resistant). I assumed they would disappear after the first hard frost. When temps dropped to 19 for a couple nights I figured it was time for the kale but when I brought a massive quantity of it inside my kitchen a swarm of whitefly sprang from the leaves.

I had no idea that any insect was this tough. Next year I will only grow Red Russian kale because I like it fine and it won’t require controlling these obnoxious pests. Their grey egg masses are also rather disgusting.

They are a pest that seems to have an increasing presence around here. They’ve even become an apple pest at a couple sites I manage.

That’s my experience too.

I don’t have those low temps, but what I’ve noticed is there is a fine line between killing the whitefly and the predators that eat them.

Yes, on the apple trees, problems began when I started using a pyrethroid- probably not a coincidence. The options are limited in residential settings, however.

Their predators often don’t breed where they lay eggs. Getting them prior to hatching can slow them down a lot in spot treatments. Sinosad or BT is one option, I prefer to give them h*ll with spirotetramat; e g. Kontos.

I have had good luck controlling white flies in the greenhouse with a soap-oil spray (Neem oil for the oil and Dr Bronners peppermint for the soap). 1 spray a week in the winter controls the white flies. 2 per week for a week or two to knock down a big infestation.

Not sure if the same would work outside with many other possible habitats but maybe worth a try.

Really, those products are labeled for whitefly?

Ratio and what form of neem oil please. What plants in greenhouse to you apply it to?

@Alan I am not very picky about the neem oil. I have been using a commercial homeowner brand that I get at Lowes (Garden Safe Neem Oil Extract). At some point I would like to try some of the other “better” neems, but this seems to work.

My formula is per gallon: 2T neem (per label instructions), 1T Dr Bronners, and I also add 1T potassium bicarbonate to help with mold (baking soda would work but my GH soil is already high in sodium so I use the potassium version).

I often in winter need to heat the neem to get it liquid, and use hot water for the first portion of water to get the neem mixed in. Then use cool water for the rest.

I apply it to any/all green plants in the GH (anything the whiteflies might be eating). Citrus and sometimes, tomato, peppers, eggplant, greens depending on what’s growing.

The neem product is labeled for insect use (and oil sprays are used on aphid and whitefly). Can’t say about the others.

Cool. I used hort oil in the green house once and did real damage to tiny tomato and pepper plants. It was for aphids.

Yes. It’s important though to check the label for crop details. For example; Kontos Label.

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There are some Red Russian crosses here, I like Lacinato Rainbow in the European category also.

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