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Whitefly Infestation!

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#1 solid7

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 03:24 PM

Well, it's the dog days of summer... The slowest part of the actual growing season. My plants have slowed down, (still bearing, of course) the bugs have mostly died back, and I'm in that holding pattern, waiting for cooler fall temps to jump start my second growing season.

But alas... Just as my beneficial bugs have started to recede, due to a reduction in their food sources, up crops the bane of plant lovers everywhere - the dreaded whitefly.

Can't really shake them. I normally inoculate (for lack of a better term) my plants with compost teas. There's no real magic, other than the teas seem to make plants undesirable to sucking insects, apparently by making them taste bad. (my theory, anyway) However, we've been getting a lot of rain, and the whitefly have apparently decided that it's better to suck on a bad tasting plant in a screened porch, than have to pick themselves up after every brutal rain

So I need some help. Before anybody chimes in, there are some conditions. I need somebody who is a real expert at battling these little bastards. There will be no Sevin dust used. (this is an organic grow) Nor will there be any garlic or dishsoap. (I refuse to kill off my good bugs) So we have a real problem.

I will begin using the yellow sticky traps. But that will not be enough. I have too many plants to shake and torch, or to vacuum. And again, because I have well established colonies of good bugs, the high pressure water treatement will not be employed.

Only the best need apply for this job. I'm going to lose these plants if I don't get some help.

By the way... it appears whitefly prefer certain varieties over others. Go figure!
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#2 Phil

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 03:53 PM

Mineral oil is the best I've found to battle them., but you might wanna plan on keeping those pesky flies. Your conditions are kind of working against you. Those beneficial bugs don't seem to benefitting your plants much anyway.


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#3 randyp

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 03:59 PM

     I had the problem last year,my toms were the host plants.No toms this year.



#4 Phil

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 04:16 PM

     I had the problem last year,my toms were the host plants.No toms this year.

 

I agree. But oddly enough, I had toms this year, and haven't seen a single whitefly or aphid yet. I can usually count on them. Mineral oil spray is the way to go for both of them.


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#5 Trippa

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 05:16 PM

Seeing as you refuse to use anything that will harm beneficial insects at all. Your question should be ... will my plants survive/thrive until conditions change? My answer would be no and seeing as you will not employ normal organic controls (by the way a combo of neem, seaweed extract and a bit of dish soap for surface coating, sprayed 3 times at 5 day intervals will take the whiteflies down very effectively while having as minimal effect on beneficial as you can hope for) your only option is to buy some additional beneficial insects (green lacewings? )
By the way both mint and basil seem to be good plants to have around so that whitefly attack them instead of your chilli plants

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#6 solid7

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 05:32 PM

My beneficials are ladybugs. They control the aphids quite effectively. So it's not just a refusal for the sake of refusal. It took me months to establish them, and there's just no way that I'm wiping them out - especially since 90% of them are in the larval stage, and most susceptible to spray damage.

I respect what you fellas are saying... But I've got a year round growing season. That is sort of a game changer, vs the 4 months that most people get. If I were in that situation, for sure I'd be going nuclear on them. Lacewings are coming, but not nearly quick enough. Even worse, we have Cuban Anoles, that wipe out anything bigger than an ant. So the few brown lacewings that we have - which are whitefly devastators - don't have much of a chance.

Yes, the sacrificial plant ideas isn't a bad one. Sticky traps, too. (in works) But there are 5 different species of whitefly in our state right now, and the conventional advice is that NOTHING works for all types. I don't trust what a group of college students publishes, vs what real growers experiences are...
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#7 Trippa

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 05:56 PM

I can grow year round as well .. not all its cracked up to be ay ;) ?

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#8 solid7

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 06:00 PM

I can grow year round as well .. not all its cracked up to be ay ;) ?


No... It's not. But, having lived in both scenarios, (seasonal and year-round) I still prefer it - even with its drawbacks.
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#9 geeme

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 06:27 PM

From buglogical.com (my fav place to get beneficials): encarsia formosa (parasitic wasp larvae), delphastus pusillus (whitefly predator beatle), green lacewings, or orius (minute pirate bugs). I like green lacewings because they're also voracious aphid eaters.


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#10 solid7

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 07:48 PM

From buglogical.com (my fav place to get beneficials): encarsia formosa (parasitic wasp larvae), delphastus pusillus (whitefly predator beatle), green lacewings, or orius (minute pirate bugs). I like green lacewings because they're also voracious aphid eaters.


Lacewings, as mentioned, are hard to keep around due to lizards. I have the wasps in abundance. But the predator beetles and pirate bugs... Definitely checking this out.

Now we're talking!
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