Washing Leaves to Manage Spiraling Whitefly

Washing of plant leaves is one of our recommendations for managing the rugose spiraling whitefly.  This seems almost too easy, but I urge green industry professionals to not discount this technique.  Washing of plant leaves can be effective and appropriate:

  • On small-scale whitefly infestations
  • For early stages of infestation
  • When infected plants are accesible
  • When pesticide usage is not practical or desireable
  • In conjunction with pesticides

Washing of plant leaves may not be a one-time solution to pest problems, but it can be a highly effective method for removing a significant amount of whiteflies.  The images below are an example of whitefly removal from a white bird of paradise with water alone.  If deemed appropriate, this method could be followed-up with horticultural soap or oil; or a systemic insecticide from the neonicotinoid family.

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Remember to scout landscapes frequently so that pest problems can be identified and monitored.  Please refer to Dr. Catharine Mannion’s Rugose Spiraling Whitefly EDIS publication for further management recommendations.

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