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The white fly belongs to the family of the Schildläuse and is a plant pest. It becomes about 2 millimeters long and has a wing span of about 3 millimeters. Preferred "victims" of the white fly are, among others, the poinsettia, ferns, hibiscus, the industrious Lieschen, Pelargonium and primroses.
The white fly develops in Central Europe mostly in greenhouses or buildings on useful and ornamental plants. But it also occurs in the field. The larvae develop in four stages. In the last stage of the larval stage, a pupil-like, immobile stage of development forms, from which the white fly hatches. Most plants are infested by this pest on the underside of the leaf.
The development of the white fly is quite fast. The females are very productive when it comes to laying eggs because they lay 2-3 eggs a day. Four weeks later, the eggs have become finished insects. The larvae are very mobile on the plants, older animals, however, sit almost exclusively on the plants and suck the plant juice.
How do you recognize that the plant is infected? The insects themselves are very good to see and fly in true droves when you touch the plant. In addition, yellow spots appear on the leaves of the plant, which are signs of sucking. Then the leaves dry completely and fall down.
How can you fight the white fly?
- On the one hand, a colder location helps the affected plant, because the white fly is a tropical insect that does not feel well in the cold. If it is not possible to relocate the site, then you can use different insecticides. However, the treatment should be repeated several times to destroy the insects that were in a different stage of development at the first treatment.
- Biologically, the white flies can be destroyed by parasitic wasps. Also possible are the so-called yellow sheets that you hang up. The insects fly on these boards and stick to it. Both the parasitic wasps and the yellow sheets are available from specialist retailers.
The white fly is actually called moth shield and belongs to the plant lice, of which thank God only 17 of the over 1,100 known species live with us in Central Europe. These moth shield louse lay on green plants from eggs, from which only hatches a larva that can move, then followed by three larval stages, in which immobile, teilverpuppte larvae on the undersides of the leaves literally "stuck". At first, the larvae are unable to absorb food from the outside. Only in the last larval stage, as a pupa, do they need external strengthening again in order to transform into flying moth sign lice.
These plant lice are regarded as pests because they feed on vegetable sap. The animals are not choosy, they like the juice of plants from more than 80 different plant families, among them is almost certainly the juice of all plants that grow in our homes or greenhouses, so the above species are really just examples. If it was just about a little bit of sap, you could just let the animals feast, but unfortunately the bigger damage will not occur until entire colonies of whiteflies whitewash their plants, which likes to mold, especially in high humidity and high temperatures, They should therefore set limits to an increase of the white flies.
One recognizes a plant infestation because tiny, whitish suction points as well as the sticky, greyish-brown discoloration on the leaf tops. After a short time the leaves turn yellowish, wither and finally fall off. The cause is both the adult lice, as well as their larvae.
The danger of the white fly is that this species of insect can transmit many fungi, bacteria and viruses. So what do you do against these scale insects? Good advice does not have to be expensive, because the most effective are the exposure of ladybirds on the plants and the setting up of yellow boards. (= yellow adhesive board panels for controlling pests). And since the white flies get scared with every little movement, it is helpful to shake the affected plants gently, whereupon the pests fly up and stick directly to the yellow boards.
For all hobby gardeners and those who prefer a chemical-free solution to fight the moth shield, basil is an excellent alternative. Also effective agents against the annoying insects are rapeseed oil, soft soap or even dishwashing detergent! Simply pour into the irrigation water every two to three days and soak the green.
Speaking of rapeseed oil:
Who sprays this morning on the leaves, has a very good chance to bring the larvae to the track in time! In addition, it can not hurt if the flower pots are placed overnight in a relatively cool environment. Unfortunately, severely infested plants are beyond help, so they are best thrown away.
So you can fight the white fly
So now you know the development and appetite of the white fly, and so you know that you rarely have to panic when it "flies white" around your plants. On the contrary, you can even go to work quite deliberately, here the measures in the recommended order, when the white fly has infested your favorite plantlets:
- Not yet infected plants are immediately expatriated, preferably in a not too close room.
- Somewhat more robust plants are simply showered cold, if possible so that the earth is not cooled through, but more in the upper area.
- This can be repeated several times, at intervals, in which the plants can warm up and recover.
- Do not be afraid to do some manual work when taking a shower
- If the plant can withstand it and the season makes it possible, it will be placed in the coolest possible space.
- The pest insects remaining after your efforts, you can spoil the appetite of the plants with various herbal remedies:
- Good to help z. B. basil, a few branches for a few days in water and then sprayed on the leaves.
- Equally effective is the famous nettle extract whose production is described elsewhere on Garden-Landscape.com.
- You can also cover the animals with rapeseed oil solution or leaf gloss spray (also an oil product), they suffocate under the film.
- Some gardeners also swear by spray cures with soft soap solution or Spüli water, which are rather unimaginable in crops.