Pioneering Hydroponics

Since 1976

How to Get Rid of Whiteflies in Hydroponics

Whiteflies are common pests in indoor plants, greenhouses, and even in hydroponics. 

As they often attack a variety of plants, whiteflies can easily decimate a hydroponic garden and lead to loss of yields. 

Don’t let whiteflies ruin your hard work; learn to spot the early signs of an infestation and how to get rid of whiteflies.

What are Whiteflies?

Don’t be fooled by their name - whiteflies are closely related to aphids and mealybugs, not flies. They have a triangular shape and often have white or yellowish wings, and can usually be found in clusters on the underside of leaves. 

These insects have a full lifecycle between 4-6 weeks with three stages: egg, nymph, and adults. Adults can reach approximately 1/16 inches (or 1.5 mm), laying eggs in late spring. Young nymphs overwinter on leaves - ready for spring and to become adults. 

A single adult female can deposit between 200-400 eggs on the underside of the upper leaves, with eggs hatching within 5-10 days. At room temperature, the lifecycle takes 25 days to complete, with adults living for one to two months.

High temperatures, however, can shorten the lifecycle to just 16 days - which makes it vital to keep an eye out for this pest.

Symptoms of a Whitefly Infestation

If you happen to see small, white bugs on your plants that don’t fly around, then your plants have mealybugs and not whiteflies. The latter will start flying around when plants are disturbed. They can be easy to overlook when in immature stages; they tend to be very pale, almost translucent, blending in perfectly with the leaves.

Similarly to aphids, whiteflies suck plant juices and eventually kill the plants if left untreated. Weak plants and seedlings are at a higher risk and need to be protected.

But where do whiteflies come from? And how do they enter the grow room?

They can be easily overlooked, however, there are a few common areas of entry, such as:

  1. Using contaminated soil.

  2. Moving plants outside during the summer.

  3. Through new plants introduced to the grow room, already contaminated.

  4. Poorly maintained window screens with openings that allow whiteflies through.

Both nymphs and adults feed on plants, causing:

  • Reduced yields.

  • Leaf yellowing.

  • Stunted growth.

  • Plant death.

How to Get Rid of Whiteflies

You might not notice a whitefly infestation until it’s too late, which is why prevention is typically advised. Providing your plants with as much protection as possible during their early development stages is essential. Hydroponic nutrients can help strengthen plants from seed to adulthood, such as Plant Magic Evolution, Plant Magic Plus - Bio-Silicon, and Bio-Wetter.

If you’re growing with soil, you should check nitrogen levels. High nitrogen content can often lead to an environment conducive to whiteflies. Should prevention not work - or maybe you noticed the whiteflies too late! - Bugicide can help address the infestation through a soft and safe approach. 

For all your hydroponic and grow room needs, make sure to get in touch with our team on 01695 554 080 or 01226 320 850.

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