Well here we are in early October and my kids are at that age to be absolutely pumped about Halloween just around the corner! I must admit, I’m pretty excited myself!
Well in preparation for Halloween this season, I decided to plant some pumpkin seeds in our backyard garden. I planted two different varieties and both appear to be growing well under our warm, sunny Arizona sky.
My plants are looking good but they’re behind… unfortunately I planted them too late as they won’t be developing sizable pumpkins in time for Halloween.
Nothing new here, just me procrastinating with garden work again. However, timing should be just perfect for Thanksgiving and looking forward to some tasty, homemade pumpkin pies!
Anyway, down here in the Arizona Southwest, our weather is still pretty warm in early October making it prime conditions for all kinds of insect activity. Worms, caterpillars, beetles, thrips, and WHITEFLY!
Whiteflies are pretty easy to recognize as the adults are little white flies that you’ll see swarm around your plants.
However, the adults are not so much of a problem. The problem comes when they start laying eggs and their immature younglings, or nymphs, start feeding on the undersides of leaves.
Whiteflies can be a common problem in all kinds of plants like lettuce, cole crops (broccoli, cabbage, kale, etc.). But whiteflies LOVE cucurbit plants like melons, cucumbers, squash, and my PUMPKINS!
Here are the 3 best ways to kill whiteflies, organically, causing problems on your pumpkins or any other plant for that matter…
1. Insecticidal Soaps
Although you can easily make a homemade insecticidal soap by mixing dish soap with water, it isn’t quite the same as specialized products formulated with potassium salts of fatty acids.
These professional grade insecticidal soaps will provide much better contact control by clogging whitefly nymph’s breathing pores and breaking down their outer cellular membrane.
Being that insecticidal soaps use a contact mode of action, they’re only affective when whitefly nymphs are present and when really good coverage is achieved.
2. Azadirachtin or Neem Oils
Although neem oils do contain a tiny amount of the azadirachtin molecule, I prefer to use products that focus their formulation around a high concentration of pure azadirachtin.
Azadirachtin is an incredible, natural insect growth regulator that works well on a number of insects but whiteflies are one of it’s specialties.
Like insecticidal soaps, azadirachtin is only affective on whitefly nymphs because the natural growth regulator disrupts their growth as they are developing.
This isn’t a fast acting mode of action, but with regular use you’ll be pleased with the level of control.
3. Botanical Oils
This class of biopesticides is what I’ve been using to control my very own whitefly problem. May come to no surprise, but I’m using my very own botanical oil based product… Mantis EC Botanical Insecticide/Miticide.
There are other products in the market, but Mantis EC is an Agriculture Grade botanical oil based insecticide that actually works at low use rates.
I developed Mantis to work at low use rates as its applied in high water volumes across large acre areas. So you can only image how well it works in smaller growing areas with good coverage.
I just finished up a field trial proving Mantis EC is a viable, organic option to control whiteflies in cotton. You may be asking why cotton? Well most people aren’t growing cotton in their gardens but this happened to be the only plant available in our growing region at the time.
But cotton is a great plant to test for whitefly control because its a major problem in this crop and populations can get very high.
Below are the results…
As you probably have noticed, all 3 methods work best on whitefly nymphs. But how do you control the adult flies?
(FYI: They’re not really flies and actually belong to the Hemiptera Order. They’ve been popularized as flies because well, they look like little white flies).
Well here’s your bonus tip… yellow sticky traps. Yellow sticky traps are really good at attracting whitefly adults and keeping a good portion of the swarm away from your plants!
Did you find this post helpful? If so, I would greatly appreciate it if you commented below and shared on Facebook or your favorite social media platform. Thanks!
PS: If you’d like for me to send you a $20 Mantis Hand Lens for FREE, click here.