How to Control whiteflies on Hibiscus
Hibiscus is a tropical/sub-tropical plant that produces an abundance of flowers that come in a variety of colors. These perennials will bring that much-needed flavor into your garden with their many colorful blooms that come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The hibiscus plant belongs to the mallow family Malvaceae and comprises some 679 species.
Hibiscus is a hardy plant that can withstand harsh conditions but like other garden plants, hibiscus also have their share of garden pests issues that can reduce a beautiful hibiscus to a nightmare. Some of these pests are mealybugs, the pink hibiscus mealybugs, thrips, aphids, scales, whiteflies, leafhoppers, fungus gnats, and the hibiscus sawfly. We will be discussing however the hibiscus whitefly and how to control them.
Hibiscus Whitefly Identification
The adult whitefly is 0.19 inches long and has white wings with the surface of the body being yellow in color. When the whitefly is resting and the wings are against the body look for a triangular overall shape. The nymphs however have a long filament of wax that can be up to 2 inches long.
Hibiscus Whitefly biology
The biology of whiteflies are eggs, nymphs, pupae, and adults. The female whitefly lays 150 or more eggs on the undersides of the leaves of plants. The eggs are laid at a rate of about 25 per day. Within 1o days the eggs hatch and the nymphs begin their journey inserting their beaks or piercing-sucking mouth parts into the tissue of garden plants. The pupa stage is the resting period before the hibiscus whitefly becomes an adult.
The adult insect also sucks or extracts the plant’s juice or fluids, they secret a sticky sugary substance called honeydew that ants use as food. If honeydew is allowed to remain on the plant leaves black dirt-like substance (Sooty Mold) forms on the leaves taking away from the plant’s beauty.
Signs of the Hibiscus Whiteflies
Look for spirals of white wax that are deposited on the hibiscus by these insects, this happens because of the adult whitefly walking on the leaves. In extreme cases of infestation, the hibiscus whitefly and its waxy deposits can be seen on both the upper and the lower leaf surfaces. The eggs in most cases are laid among the waxy deposits.
How to Control the Hibiscus Whiteflies
There are several ways to control these garden pests, here are a few methods that have proven to be effective.
1. Insecticidal Soap: Insecticidal soap has proven to be effective, before applying insecticidal soap read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for the best results. Insecticidal soaps work on direct contact. Most common soaps are made of the potassium salts of fatty acids, the fatty acids disrupt the structure and permeability of the insect’s cell membranes. The cells are damaged and leak the contents that are found in the cell, when this happens the insect quickly dies.
2. Neem Oil: Neem oil can also be used to eliminate whiteflies and is most effective against immature insects. Neem oil works by covering the insect’s body with oil, this oil blocks their breathing openings which leads to suffocation.
3 Leave Removal: If the infestation is small then the part that’s affected can be removed with a hand pruner.
4. Horticultural Oil: Horticultural oil works as a spray, when applying getting total coverage of the insect pest is so important. When applied horticultural oil forms a coating of oil on the insect’s body blocking the spiracels or breathing openings that lead to suffocation.
5. A Stream of Water: An effective way to eliminate hibiscus whiteflies is with a strong stream or spray of water. This strong spray of water with the help of a hose attachment nozzle adjusted to jet stream will work. Be careful however because you don’t want to damage plants (leaves and flowers) with the water pressure as it comes out of the nozzle.
6. Soap and Water: Soapy water applied to whiteflies will bring control, however, you may have to apply this solution at 7-day intervals until whiteflies are killed off.
7. Sticky Traps: Coat a yellow index card with petroleum jelly, whiteflies will be attached to the yellow and will get stuck on the card.
8. Predators: Beneficial insects are natural enemies to whiteflies and other garden insect pests. Some examples of beneficial insects are minute pirate bugs, spiders, ladybugs, lacewings, green lacewings, ground beetles, praying mantis, assassin bugs, syrphid flies, etc… Beneficial insects use the hibiscus whitefly and other garden insect pests as food.
The final word on hibiscus whiteflies control
With so many effective methods at your fingertips, the hibiscus whitefly does not stand a chance, applying one or more of these methods will give you the results you are looking for. Your garden plants will thank you for it by rewarding you with an abundance of flower blooms or causing you to read a good harvest if you’re growing an edible garden. Join the many homeowners who are having much success in their garden with these methods.
About the author
Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.