July 28, 2011
What do you do if your plant is covered with white bugs? This beautiful calabrachoa has a few insect problems including whiteflies and aphids. These pests are very common this time of year and you'll find them on hanging baskets, window boxes, and in containers. Many types of flowers are bug magnets, especially for aphids and whiteflies, and that's what we have here.
These bugs don't bother people, your pets, or the house, just plants. But they will spread to other plants so you have to be careful and control them. They also reproduce really quickly. One week your plant looks like nothing is going on and then the next week, you've got an explosion of insects.
So you need to do something because these pests will hurt your plant. Eventually you'll start seeing the leaves yellowing and you'll start getting this sticky substance, called honey dew, that will start dripping down on the ground and surfaces making a mess.
There are some easy ways to save it! Now first, you can use a shop vac to just suck the little buggers right off the plant. For long-term control, you can place this yellow sticky trap above the plant. The aphids and the whiteflies are attracted to the color yellow and they'll get stuck on that trap before they actually land on the plant, so you reduce the population that way.
To really get rid of this many pests, you'll have to spray. You can use insecticidal soap and Neem oil. Spray your plant so that it gets on the top and on the undersides of the leaves. The underside is where the eggs and the young nymphs will be.
You're going to have to do it a number of times because these guys lay a lot of eggs and they're going to continue to hatch over a number of days. So you might be spraying a couple of times a week, for a number of weeks to really get a plant that has this big of an infestation under control.
By Charlie Nardozzi
PO Box 4508