Whiteflies, Biggest Enemy of Vegetable Crops

Who is the nemesis of all the vegetables?

The answer is white fly. Over 1000 species of whiteflies are known worldwide, and not all whiteflies cause damage on vegetable crops. Infective whiteflies develop rapidly during periods of warm weather.

How do they appear on plants?

white bug

A plant will be normal and growing healthy but suddenly the shoot tips begin to stunt, the leaves curl like swords, and the pods begin to shrink. If you look at the top of the leaf, you will not see anything. However, if you tap it slowly, you can see white dust flying from it and that’s our villain.

What do this white fly do?

Whitefly attacks vegetables during the months of scorching summer. Whiteflies suck the sap from the leaves, and heavy infestations can remove large amounts of sap resulting in stunted growth, leaf yellowing, defoliation, and reduced yields. It can be treated biologically only if it is identified at an earlier stage.

How can you prevent them?

Tomatoes, green chillies and brinjals are mainly attacked by whiteflies. Usage of neem based pesticides can destroy the larvae of these pests which cling to the lower side of the leaves like white dust, laying eggs rapidly. Pesticides should be sprayed on the base of the leaf for at least three consecutive days.

It is not enough to focus only on the gardens and vegetable saplings. Whiteflies also nest under nearby papaya and hibiscus leaves. Therefore, spraying should be done on nearby such plants too.

What are the bio-pesticides that can be used?

  • Verticillium mixture
    Mix 20 g of Verticillium lecani in a liter of water and add 10 ml of castor oil and 10 g of powdered jaggery to get rid of whiteflies.
  • Castor oil- Neem oil mixture
    100 ml of neem oil, 50 ml of castor oil and 15 ml of Stanovate should be mixed in one liter of water and spray it on the top and bottom of the leaf.
  • Neem oil emulsion
    Mix 50 g of laundry soap in 200 ml of neem oil with a little hot water and 100 g of crushed garlic. Take 15 ml of this stock solution and dilute it in one liter of water before spraying it on the white spot.

Bio-pesticides should be applied after cutting and burning the severely diseased leaves and stems of the plant as they can’t be rescued.