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White Flies

Ash Whitefly Explosion

There is a new pest in Oregon, identified as the Ash Whitefly. Presently, the adult white fly clouds are only an annoyance. If not maintained can become problematic for plants come next year. Two to six generations of white flies can be created in a year contingent on the climate. Oregon entomologists are carefully watching to see if their environment will help deter larger infestations of this new pest.

The White Fly’s Development

Whiteflies lay their tiny eggs on the underside of the leaves of fruit and ornamental plants. As the eggs hatch into little transparent nymphs that become more opaque covered in clusters of white wax. As they progress into the pupae stage, they mature into a brownish, oval shaped insect that feeds on the leaves of their host plant.

Feeding Routines of These Tiny Flies

These small white bugs tap into the phloem of their host plants’ leaves. The leave’s phloem supports the transportation of the soluble matter produced during the process of photosynthesis in the plant. The whiteflies feed on photosynthate or, in other words, the sucrose produced during photosynthesis. The fly’s poisonous saliva affects the plant’s turgor pressure in its cells. Susceptible plants are easily harmed by large swarms of white flies. Mold is left behind on the leaves, which obstructs the sunlight yellowing the foliage and even stunting the plant’s growth.

Lower the Chances of an Infestation Next Year

Taking concrete steps with plants can control the size of white fly infestation if one is suspected. To maintain a backyard devoid of clouds of these little flies, there are several preventative methods to assist in managing the spread of these prolific pests.

• Washing the affected plant specifically the bottom side of the leaves where these small white bugs feed and thrive to remove both the adult, pupae, and eggs for pest control.

• Remove all bug-ridden leaves, leaves showing signs that they have been eaten along with all dead leaves. Placing these leaves in tightly closed containers will help to avoid further infestations and disease from spreading. Adult bugs of this species overwinter (hibernate) on the bottom side of leaves, in the fall and winter check plants for signs of these pests and remove all of these leaves from the yard.

• Whiteflies are attracted to yellow hues, applying sticky yellow paper to the areas surrounding the infested plants serves to help capture many these flies substantially reducing the amount of pests in the yard.

• Introducing companion plants to a garden helps repel the small white bugs can help decrease their presence in that garden. Plants like the nasturtiums help provide protection to tomatoes and gooseberry plants against these pests. The root chemicals in this type of plant contain a repellent reaction that deters these insects.

What Makes Them a Nuisance?

A substance known as honeydew a tacky sugary liquid is secreted by Ash whiteflies. Honeydew is known to cause the sooty mold found on plants, fruit and leaves of trees. Sooty mold suppresses a plant’s growth and effects a leave’s color.
Large swarms of flies secrete large amounts of this honeydew that drips on other plants, walkways, fences and cars. The cloud of swarming insects is capable of disrupting planned outdoor activities. By standing close to an affected tree, these flies have the capacity to disrupt outdoor activities.