For over 30 years now, white flies have been becoming an increasingly large issue, and as of now they’re considered a worldwide infestation agriculturally speaking.
Keep reading to find out what they are and how to keep them away from your cannabis plants.
What are White Flies?
White flies are insects that absorb sap from your plants in order to feed.
These infestations don’t usually ruin your plants, although you’re better off keeping them away for the following reasons:
- They can cause you to lose quantity and quality; infected plants become weak and produce less, lower quality flowers.
- The flowering period can be delayed.
- They contain illnesses that they transmit to your plants, causing other insects to appear.
- They secrete a type of molasses called honeydew which attracts ants. Honedew can also cause dangerous fungi to gain access to your plants.
- Once they’ve made a home, white flies can quickly take over your entire grow, making them incredibly hard to get rid of.
How to Identify White Flies
White flies tend to leave stains on the leaves, similar to other insects such as thrips or mites.
If you shake your plants a bit and you see flies moving from one branch or plant to another, you have a clear indication of white flies. These flying insects measure between 1 and 2 mm, are white in colour and can be seen with the naked eye.
Make sure to periodically check on your plants in search of insects. If you see adults flying or larvae and eggs under the leaves, you’ll know you have a problem. The eggs tend to be laid in circles.
How to Prevent White Flies in Cannabis Plants
Once they’ve made your plants a home, it can be hard to get rid of white flies. Keep in mind that female flies can lay between 150 and 500 eggs, so you’re better off trying to avoid them from even appearing.
Some of the best ways to prevent white flies are:
- Don’t go overboard with nitrogen during the growth phase; this can increase the likelihood of insects and fungi.
- Place your plants in an area with air circulation and no pockets of stagnant air. If you’re growing indoors you need an extraction and ventilation system in order to avoid excess temperatures and humidity.
- Blue and yellow sticky traps are ideal for flying insects; use them during the growth and flowering period and you’ll be able to protect your plants while also making it much easier to identify possible future infestations.
- We recommend using bio preventives such as Cannacure, Protect or Leaf Coat. This type of preventive product forms a thin film over your plants’ leaves which makes it hard to insects to get through. They can also help to reduce stress in your plants.
How to Get Rid of White Flies
It’s important that once you’ve identified white flies in your cannabis plants that you get rid of them immediately. The objective should be for them to cause as little damage as possible. If you don’t tend to them quickly, they’ll grow and expand, making them much harder to get rid of.
- Spruzit is a product made using natural pyrethrins which act via contact. Pyrethrin rapidly degrades under the sunlight and has a short safety period. It also contains rapeseed oil which asphyxiates white fly eggs.
- In order to get rid of the molasses left behind during the growth stage we recommend Mobet, an insecticidal soap. During the flowering stage, in order to avoid spraying the flowers, you can clean the leaves using a cloth or some cotton dipped in a diluted Mobet solution.
- If you’ve had previous insect infestations in your indoor grow of any kind, before you start growing again you should use Solfac Automatic Forte, an automatic multipurpose chemical insecticide. It should only ever be used in rooms or tents with no plants in them.
Before Using Pesticides…
- Read the instructions carefully.
- Use the right type of protective material.
- If you have any questions check with our team of professionals.
At La Huerta Grow Shop we’re invested in protecting cannabis plants organically and in an eco-friendly manner. We recommend using organic and preventive insecticides.