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White fly, a rather annoying pest but also being the protagonist of a very common saying that is not as negative as the effects that the insect has on plants. There is no particular connection betweenbe a white fly and the whitefly parasite, so it is good to know the latter in order to avoid that destroy our vegetable garden or our garden.
White fly: what it means to "be a white fly"
When you are a whitefly it is because you make yourself recognized, it catches the eye, just like a white fly in the middle of a swarm of "normal" flies. Usually in a positive or neutral way, otherwise he would become a black sheep. This is how we say of a person who, one above all, has one unexpected quality that makes it stand out in a group. Like a white specimen in the middle of a group of normal flies, therefore dark in color, blackish.
The whitefly understood as a parasite, which we will now describe, she is not albino. It is a completely different being that in nature we do not find flying in a swarm of "normal" flies.
White fly: the insect
This parasite belonging to the family of aleyrodidae, unfortunately it is widespread all over the world because it is particularly resistant and able to adapt to the most diverse environmental and climatic conditions. Its origins are to be found in tropical countries, in fact its preferred habitats are those characterized by a hot and humid climate like in greenhouses, better if with poor ventilation.
Rapid to reproduce, therefore difficult to extinguish, the whitefly is positioned on the underside of the leaf where the females lay eggs in large quantities. From 150 to 200 eggs, too, all ready to hatch after a maximum of 12 days. Before becoming adults, the nymphs go through three stages and from a fourth nymphal but it takes them a whole month and then they are white flies in all respects.
Two millimeters long, they look like butterflies, not too unpleasant, and they are not pure white but rather cream white color. They look innocent, but they are among the best known and feared plant pests
White fly: citrus
On citrus fruits, the whitefly is positioned as usual in the lower part of the leaf causing yellowing and the consequent weakening of the entire plant. If a citrus tree is not particularly robust, this parasite can become lethal if it makes a severe attack: first it loses its leaves and then dies.
Also called whiteflies, white flies they suck with their own licking apparatus, the leaves, and at the same time also propagate viruses and bacteria, produce a lot of honeydew by filling the leaves with it. In some cases yes they also develop fumaggini.
White fly: geranium
Geranium is among the favorite victims of this insect, along with other plants. It doesn't make many problems, the whitefly, but attacks both the leathery and the tender ones: in addition to geranium many other varieties fear it, including begonia, dahlia, surfinia, cyclamen, fuchsias, petunias, marigolds, poinsettias.
White fly on basil
Basil is not among the favorite parasitic plants, among the non-ornamental ones, this fly chooses tomatoes, aubergines and watermelons. In Italy it is more widespread in the southern areas, also due to a certain climatic similarity with its own areas of origin. In Northern Italy we find this parasite almost only in greenhouses, in the fields it appears only if the winter was mild.
White fly natural remedies
Given that the fight against the whitefly is extremely hard, let's try to win it. It is tough because it lays eggs at a very high rate, resists even the most "strong" pesticides and spreads a waxy film to protect their eggs from our insecticides.
To eliminate the adults we can try with the chromotropic traps but to date the chemical fight gives better results than that biological. For the latter, the calcidoid hymenoptera Encarsia formosa and Encarsia tricolor are used, on the market we can also find other bacteria such as the Beauveria bassiana and the Verticillium lecanii which contrast both eggs and adult whiteflies.
White fly how to remove it
Before moving it away, which is not easy to do, let's try to prevent its arrival. Like? It is not simple but it is doable:protecting the seedlings during transport with nets or non-woven fabric and we keep our greenhouse insulated with nets.
To remove the whitefly it is then possible to use weeds and apply the yellow chromotropic traps in greenhouses even before planting. Among the pesticide products on the market, which can also be purchased online, we find one ready-to-use spray at € 9 for 500 ml of insecticidal liquid, fungicidal and nourishing, effective against plant parasites such as whiteflies, aphids, red spider mites and scale insects.
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