sweet potato whitefly


Despite the name, whiteflies aren’t truly flying insects like flies. They are a member of the true “bug” family instead. Regardless of their relatives, they can really ruin a garden or a potted plant.


How to Identify Whiteflies

Whiteflies have a pair of white, moth-like wings that contribute to their name. They are quite small. It’s often said that whiteflies look like a dusting of dandruff when a group is in flight. You are more likely to see their effects on your plants. A whitefly infestation leaves them with brown or yellow spots and a mottled look or it just kills the plant outright. They also leave a sticky substance called honeydew on the plant or the surface its rests upon.

Problems that are caused by White Flies

Whiteflies feed on plants which will of course eventually kill the plant. They also spread viruses between plants (not to humans) and their honeydew will grow fungal infections on the plant. A large-scale infestation will destroy a garden or a crop. They are tolerant of a wide variety of chemical and thus hard to kill. They tend to cling to the underside of a plant’s leaves, making it even harder to reach them with sprays or insecticides. They have been responsible for millions of dollars in agricultural damage.


There is no season for whiteflies. Their lifespan is about 20-30 days or a little less in the summer. Breeding increases in summer but will continue as long as they have adequate food supplies. A severe winter will significantly reduce their numbers.

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