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Whitefly infestation on Habanero plant

This started when it was inside a pool cage and I assume because there were no natural predators. I hosed it off and moved it outside 2 weeks ago. Since then I have sprayed it with fish emulsion, then a few days later I used Neem oil. Whiteflies are still loaded on the underside of the leaves. I have never seen a whiteflu infestation this bad before. How do you deal with this? I was expecting that ladybugs or lacewings to start controlling the whitefly. I do see the occassional lacewing, but not like I would expect. Help.

Comments (16)

  • 14 years ago

    There are some predators available but ,to me, they are quite expensive. For several years I had whiteflies inside on peppers ( those I over wintered) and tomatoes I tried to grow inside. Outside they seemed to prefer the cucurbits. I use ladybugs inside to control aphids but they didn't help with the flies. Neither did yellow sticky traps or various sprays. This won't help you in Florida but one winter I didn't over winter any of them and have not seen one in years. Apparently they couldn't survive Maine winters without my help.

    Let us know if you find something that works.

    john

  • 14 years ago

    If it was a small enough plant I would turn it upside down into a bucket of water but this is a thick 2 year old Hab plant.

  • 14 years ago

    Anyone else have any suggestions? If your plants developed a whitefly infestation, short of tossing the plant what would you do?

  • 14 years ago

    Are they on any other plants? As I said above I didn't have much luck dealing with them. Short of chucking it I would try a radical prune-discarding all leaves, dumping the soil, washing the plant well . and re-potting in a new pot with fresh soil. I have done this with plants to over winter ( not to get rid of white fly)and most survived.

    john

  • 14 years ago

    I agree with John's suggested treatment. I follow those steps to over-winter my peppers, as well, and the root-pruing and foliage-pruning really helps to rejuvenate the plant.

    During the winter, I also use a largely inorganic mix - Perlite, pine/fir bark, pumice, and quartz gravel - which further helps to eliminate any stowaway critters in the soil.

    Josh

  • 14 years ago

    I just had a terrible aphid infestation on a 2 year old peach hab... I tried soap./alcohol sprays... all kinds of stuff and it controlled them but didnt rid them. It was a really bad infestation.

    Anyway, I cut the plant completely back leaving only a few little leaves on each branch and trimmed most of the branches off as well leaving four main stalks.

    Sprayed it down outside with a garden hose, removing the top 4 inches of container soil in the process, replaced the lost soil with fresh soil, and sprayed down the naked plant with a soap/alochol spray.

    I put the plant under a 250w hps indoors, its been 3 weeks the plant has regrown to about half its previous size and is starting to bloom. No aphids in sight anywhere it completely irradicated them from what I can tell.

  • 14 years ago

    Ok well I guess a heavy prune is needed then, thanks.

  • 14 years ago

    Unless you're totally against it...

    Since you're not collecting pods right now (and for a lot it really doesn't matter anyway) you can use a systemic (plants take it up into their tissues) pesticide over the winter.

    Contact pesticides vs. whiteflys are pretty ineffective since they tend to fly away when they're disturbed.

  • 14 years ago

    Actually it is loaded with green and orange Habs on it right now. I live in Florida and peppers pretty much grow 10 months out of the year. Jan & Feb sort of stay dormant and new growth starts picking up in March.

  • 14 years ago

    Ah...I thought you were bringing it in for over-wintering storage and it was "done" for the year.

  • 14 years ago

    Well the plants died when we had 10 days of colder weather subjecting them to freezing temperatures. At least the whitefly population was destroyed.

  • 14 years ago

    Try a mild soap solution sprayed under the leaves & any other places the whiteflies are at. Spray, wait until it's almost dry, spray with plain water, spray again with soap solution. Repeat until flies are gone. Sometimes takes a few days. I have only used this method once (worked fine), but have heard many good results from using it.

  • 14 years ago

    What was a good mild soap solution? I used safer soap and it didn't work as suggested. Also tried Neem oil and it became a sticky sooty mold mess and it seemed like it multiplied the whitefly infestation. Diluted Shampoo is one soap I did not try that perhaps I should have.

  • 14 years ago

    If the safer soap and Neem Oil didn't work well at all for you, your infestation must be pretty bad. I had 12 pepper plants completely obliterated by those darned things about 2 years ago. About the only thing I can suggest at this point is to order some ladybugs (believe it or not, easy to buy online) or get some from your local nursery and release them during dark hours around the problem plant(s) and within a week or two, your infestation will be taken care of. In the meantime, you could try a more concentrated Neem Oil spray.

  • 14 years ago

    Well as I said the plants died with the freeze so the issue is moot, but I'd like to know a solution if it ever happens again. With the Neem oil I think with the leaves that sticky and if it gets hot like 80 degrees the leaves start to cook being trapped in oil. I've never had success with scale using neem oil for the same reason. Seems like it suffocates the plant itself as the leaf is sealed with oil.

  • 14 years ago

    I live in Miami and for the past 2 years have been battling a nasty whitefly infestation. I lost a big crop of datils, habbies, and jalapenos in 2008 because of those things.

    I tried a couple different powders, spectra/triacizide, etc... and the only product I found to keep the WF at bay is some stuff I got at the Home Depot called Organocide. It's fish oil based and I apply it with a 2.5 gallon pump sprayer and so far it's working very well. It even keeps the aphids off - which I just used to kill off a bad infestation I had discovered last week.

    Try spraying just the underside of the leaves so that the oil doesn't mess up the tops of the leaves. It's easy if you use a sprayer with a long nozzle.

    I apply it once every 3 weeks or so and do a touch-up when I notice any WF or aphid activity.

    I hope this helps.

    -ras

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