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Signs of damage
- Honeydew. Similarly to aphids, whiteflies feed on plants' sap, so they pierce their mouths into the host. Hence honeydew, a sugary and sticky secretion, is produced. This sign is very important because it shows that these insects were around for a while. Mostly honeydew can be found underside the leaves and on the new growths.
- General wilting. Even photosynthesis can't be carried out normally because, during a heavy infestation, the plant becomes extremely weak.
- Reduced growth. Another important aspect is the consequences of general weakness.
- Change of the leaves' color. Foliage becomes yellowish or just paler.
- Falling of the leaves. After the color change, leaves eventually become weaker and then drop off.
How to prevent
Always check on the plant before buying them because signs of the disease can be visible. Once you get the plant, inspect it from time to time, so you will be able to spot disease at the early stage. Try to create conditions that can be attractive to natural predators like ladybugs, dragonflies, or hummingbirds; they will take care of the whitefly problem before you even notice it. Aluminum reflective mulch is a great solution for peppers and tomatoes; this preventive measure will make it harder for whiteflies to find their host.
You can begin treating by blasting the whiteflies with water; you can use a watering hose for this purpose. Insecticidal soap is very helpful in this case, and don't forget to apply it under the leaves. You can also use a handheld vacuum but be careful with it.
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