Insects similar to aphids and mealybugs are whiteflies, which have soft bodies and winged wings. Although they possess wings, whiteflies are not true flies, though they do have wings and can fly. Whiteflies are usually found in clusters on the undersides of leaves and can be as small as one/12 of an inch in size. They are active during the day and will scatter when disturbed, therefore they can be more visible than some nocturnal insects.
It is known that hundreds of species of whiteflies exist, but most of them affect only a small number of plants. However, there are a few whiteflies that affect more plants, which has led to the most serious problems in horticulture. This species includes greenhouse whiteflies, banded-winged whiteflies, giant whiteflies, and silverleaf whiteflies. Silverleaf whiteflies, which are smaller and more yellow than other whiteflies, are particularly widespread in southern states.
Just like aphids, whiteflies are a scourge in the garden. These tiny, pale pests spread diseases and sap from new and older plants. Worse yet, they easily pass through mesh screens, making them a problem in greenhouses or indoor gardens.
If they are not identified and treated promptly, tiny whiteflies can kill off tomato plants. These white-winged insects are small and yellow-bodied, and they have flat wings or small arched wings. The insects feed on the underside of tomato leaves, sucking in sap and that in turn causes the plant’s leaves to die and yellow, their edges usually curling inward as damage progresses. Extensive feeding can leave a tomato plant susceptible to sooty mold and viruses spread by the pests. Prompt control prevents severe damage, so the tomatoes can grow and ripen normally.
Ways Of Control And Eliminate Whiteflies
There are numerous options available to control whiteflies, but the simplest and most effective method is to start early! As you wander through the garden or tend to your plants, check the back of their leaves for eggs or pay attention when little insects fly away as you approach your plants.
Natural Methods Of Controlling Whitefly
For the protection of crops against whiteflies, integrated pest management is the best option. Its goal is to minimize the amount of residues in the crops to be harvested by providing a rational and efficient control of pests and diseases. Biological control, cultural methods, and phytosanitary methods must be coordinated, and natural measures should be promoted over synthetic ones.
Begin by blasting whiteflies (as with aphids and many other pests) with the watering hose or spray bottle. This will cause them to scatter and dislodge nymphs and eggs to a certain extent.
Use insecticidal soap on the leaves of your plants, following these directions. According to the National Gardening Association, this easy homemade solution should help control and discourage whiteflies: Use a mix of dish soap with water. One squirt of soap to one gallon of water should do the trick. As mentioned above, spray only at cooler temperatures; late in the day is best. The NGA mixture isn’t a particularly harsh combination, and whiteflies are hard to eradicate, so it’s best to take preventative measures.
Spray plants at night when temperatures are cooler, as the midday heat might adversely affect your plants. Plus, spraying at night prevents the possibility of unintentional damage to pollinators or beneficial insects. Make sure you spray on the undersides of leaves, too. Follow-up two or three times a day.
#2. Use of Yellow Sticky flypaper
A spray-free solution, you can pick this up from your local Bunnings but basically, it’s a yellow sheet of sticky paper and the little flies stick to it. We’ve used this in the past with moderate success. However, we stopped using them when we caught a gecko and a few of our native bush bees stuck to the paper.
#3. Organic Neem Oil
In organic farming, Neem oil is a natural oil derived from seeds of the Neem tree which has a naturally occurring pesticide. It is perfect for organic gardeners. In contrast with the aquaponic system, this chemical is generally safe for non-targeted use with birds, mammals, bees, and plants. Once sprayed on plants, it will affect only insects that eat the plants, so native bees should be okay.
#4. Use Of Natural Insecticides
There are several natural formulations that are effective but leave no residue in the crop, but farmers often have difficulty finding these formulations.
Given the good results Nakar product has demonstrated in trials and commercial application, and the high degree of specialization, it stands out among all natural insecticides against whiteflies on tomato plants. This is a biopesticide that shows excellent contact control of soft shell insects, especially whiteflies, in tomato plants during all stages of development.
Because of its unique formulation, it is able to penetrate and fragment the lipoprotein matrix of insect cell membranes. By disrupting these membranes, the cellular contents engorge, causing dehydration and death.
With its natural origin and its compatibility with the natural predators and parasitoids of the whitefly, this pesticide is an ideal tool for Integrated Pest Management (IPM), so that the insecticide’s results are combined with biological control action.
In parallel, Pirecris, an insecticide based on natural pyrethrins, is made with natural co-formulants with no piperonil peroxide as a synergist, which is patented. Its formula is proven effective.
Advantages Of Using The Natural Treatment to Control Whitefly On Tomato
#1. No security deadlines: Neither Pirecris nor Nakar requires a safety period. Actually, both may be applied the day prior to harvest.
#2. Efficacy in all biological stages of insects: Although their efficacy strengthens over all stages of insect development, insects in their immature stages of development and non-flying phases are more vulnerable to the effects of the active substances.
#3. Wetting effect: Whitefly populations are located on the underside of the leaves, which makes the contact products with them ineffective; therefore, wetters must be used. However, Nakar appears to have achieved a potentiating and wetting effect, thereby increasing the adhesive strength of the application. Additionally, it increases the adhesion of other treatments by decreasing the surface tension of the water and increasing the contact surface of the water as well as the duration of contact between the pathogen and the applied active material.
#4. Avoid molasses and bold in the crops: Whiteflies secrete molasses which hindered the growth of the plant by preventing photosynthesis and therefore causing less vigor in the fruits. In addition, this molasses facilitates the development of the fungus that causes the black spots on leaves, flowers, and fruits, and it also lowers the capacity of photosynthesis and respiration, decreasing the crop quality and hampering the penetration of phytosanitary treatments.
Nakar is not only a natural insecticide, but it also reduces the risk of the fatal spread of fungi by helping to clean the molasses produced by sucking insects such as the whiteflies.
#5. Efficiency comparable to chemicals: Testing with the bio-insecticide Nakar has shown that it is just as effective for controlling whiteflies as the standard-described chemical and can be deployed in integrated and ecological production.