WHITE FLIES INVADED MY GARDEN
On Sunday, April 7, 2019, we had a driving rain here in the Rockport, TX area that left us with 1.3” of rain which raised the water table above ground in several areas of my 1.5 acres. Every step I took in my saturated garden left an imprint filled with muddy water.
On Monday I went fishing with a friend in the morning. Late that afternoon I walked out into my garden and discovered that every plant except the onions had hundreds of white flies that flew like small snowflakes from the tomatoes, beans, corn, peas, peppers, melons, okra, Cole crops, and herbs. We had white flies in the spring of 2018 after Hurricane Harvey cover some of the wild growing weeds like miniature snow cones in the forks of limbs, but there were very few in the garden last year.
I researched White Flies in my garden books and on the internet. I found out they are 1/16th inch soft bodied powdery white winged moth like insects that suck the juices from the undersides of leaves on plants leaving honeydew on the plant, weakening it and made it prone to diseases. The female can lay up to 400 eggs in a season which hatch into flat oval scale like nymphs that crawl under leaves and start sucking. I found out that dish washing soap and along with a forceful spray from the hose can be used to dislodge the white flies. Then an organic insecticide like Saffer Soap or Spinosad, used according to directions, can be used.
I checked my shelf in the shed and found that the Saffer Soap had dried up and I only had about a table spoon of Spinosad for my 2 gallon sprayer. I used some Dawn liquid soap, the Spinosad, and about 2 table spoons of Pyrethrin Concentrate plus water. Pyrethin is an organic non-discriminatory insecticide that kills all insects. I sprayed late Monday evening. It is best not to spray in the heat of the day. It is important to spray under the leaves which was a strain on my 77 year old back. Ha! Oh!
On Wednesday I checked with my neighbor and found out she had white flies in her raised bed garden. I went to a garden store and bought her and me some Spinosad concentrate, plus I also got some Saffer Soap for me. When I checked my garden that afternoon, there were no white flies. The Monday spraying had got them.
Then on the following Monday, I found there had been a new hatching of white flies in my garden. Their numbers were not near as many as the previous Monday. I sprayed with both Spinosad and Saffer Soap according to directions. Today, Wednesday, there were still a few white flies which I used the hose spray on. I will spray with the insecticides if they are still there tomorrow.
None of my garden plants seem to be hurt. In fact it is one of the healthiest and most beautiful spring gardens I have had.