Gardening tips, tricks for the average home gardener by a home gardener.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Whiteflies eat bean plants! YIKES!
Whitefly Invasion! Yep. Yesterday afternoon I did my walk about and I saw something was eating the leaves of my bean plants. But, there was another sign. The leaves looked wilted. Do you see in the photo above how the leave is sagging and bent over itself a bit? Those two things together show me the plant is in distress. I needed to inspect the plant more closely and the first place I look is hiding places. I looked at the undersides of the leaves and I saw little white bugs. Now don't go thinking I'm some expert on garden bugs. I work a real job during the week just like everyone else and from 6 pm to dark Monday through Friday and on Saturday and Sunday, I try to squeeze in gardening, canning, painting, scrap-booking and every other kind of crazy hobby I come up with for that week. Gardening and cooking are my constants and I have been sewing since I was in junior high. But back to the bugs.
Close up of Whiteflies
I saw the bugs and I immediately did what I always do when I see bugs of any kind on my plants - filled a spray bottle with warm water and dish soap and sprayed the entire plant top to bottom tops and undersides of leaves, stems and even the soil for every bean plant that shown any sign of the white bugs. I took photos before the treatment and expanded the photos so I see a close up of the insects since my eyesight is not good enough to get a microscopic view or close up enough to identify them. I was able to identify the infestation as whitefly with the help of the internet and photos. While no one said to treat with the soapy water spray, it really worked wonders! While my leaves didn't care for it much, neither did the insects and nearly all of the whiteflies flew the coop. We had only a couple of the insects return the following day and I sprayed again. I was not able to get a regular insecticide until Saturday night because I had my grandsons spend the night on Friday night as I was the babysitter on Saturday. I'm not unhappy with my response nor my results, but tomorrow I'll use the commercial spray and hopefully eradicate them for good. I want to point out why these daily walk arounds are so important. While I was reading up on these insects, one man said that his entire sunflower planting was decimated by whiteflies in 18 hours. This means that just skipping one day of walking around your garden/yard, you miss the opportunity of catching this kind of problem and maybe losing all of what you planted of a single species of crop. It was only a matter of a few hours for this to spread to all of my bean plants and they are spread all across the various corners of my lanai. This is just a little something to consider the next time you decide you're too tired or too lazy to stroll around the yard to check up on your garden.