What are these white swirls and bugs on my plants?
Have you noticed small white insects that look like a tiny fly? Or white spirals/swirls on your plants? If so, you have the infestation of whiteflies starting on your plants. The name of this pest describes exactly what these bugs look like, and they can cause damage or disease to the growth of your plants.
The grown whiteflies and eggs typically live on the underside of your plants foliage and will suck on the precious saps of your plant, similar to aphids in the way they feed and how fast they reproduce. These whiteflies lay eggs in spiral or swirl formation, looking like a trail of fuzziness which is actually up to 20 eggs of the new generation of pests.
These eggs will hatch in as little as a couple of days or up to a week, with each fly dispersing dozens of eggs. You can tell a white fly is present when there are egg trails left behind, or fuzzy white substance on your leaves underside, the waste product.
When you check your plants for pests, these whiteflies will typically scatter and begin flying so be as gentle as possible with searching through leaves for bugs in general. All bugs will go hiding for protection when they feel rustling of the leaves they feed from.
Now, it is very important to eradicate the infestation as soon as possible and carry out preventable measures due to the damage these pests cause.
How to Eradicate: You can start by hanging sticky fly traps around your yard or on the edges of your PlantedWalls to capture the inevitable. But once you notice the eggs and fly itself, it’s time to carry out use with an insecticide, hand swiping away eggs with a soapy thumb. If the infestation is larger, spray down the plant with water, and dispose of the leaves that are heavily infested. It is ideal to catch the bugs when they are at the egg stage (White Swirls) due to their fast reproduction rate.
The sprays to use when eradicating white flies (all organic) would be either Horticulture Oil which is an organic mix of mineral oils, Safer Insect Killing Soap, or Dr. Bronner’s pure-castile soap (plain, no scent added or oils added). Dr. Bronner’s pure-castile soap is the ideal soap to use when you desire to use a soapy water mixture for pest control, but keep in mind that this will only take care of the insects that suck on the saps of your plant and will not kill chewing insects such as caterpillars.
To use Dr. Bronner’s on plants mix 1 tablespoon of soap with about 16oz of water into a reusable spray bottle. Spray both the front and backs of the leaves, emphasis on the backs, while also spraying in a shady location, early morning, or afternoon so that the product can dry before the sun hits the wet foliage, possibly burning the plant.
Always remember when harvesting to wash your plants, especially after using sprays. If you find pests while harvesting you can simply wash the insect away and enjoy the same food source!
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