Last updated: May 20, 2021

What Does Whitefly Mean?

Whiteflies are a common insect pest that attack a variety of plants. The winged insects measure two milometers in length and have a whitish body color. To most people, they would appear to be tiny moths.

A whitefly uses its mouth to bite and cut into the plant’s skin and suck the sap. They especially enjoy feeding on young, tender cannabis plants.

Whiteflies tend to congregate on the undersides of the plant’s leaves and they also lay their eggs there. Each whitefly lays about 180 to 200 microscopic eggs.

There are more than 1,500 known species of whiteflies around the world.

Whiteflies on the leaves of a cannabis plant.


Maximum Yield Explains Whitefly

Whiteflies are sap-sucking insects that feed on the nutrients plants receive and can literally suck the life out of the plant, ultimately killing the leaves or the plant. As the insects feed, the leaf will yellow, wither, and die as the vital nutrients that should feed the plant are going to the insect.

After feeding on the sap of the marijuana plant, the insect secretes a honeydew-like excrement that accumulates on the foliage. The excrement usually starts to form a gray mold overgrowth, which turns black in time. Whiteflies are often easy to to detect; if a grower lightly shakes a plant, the whiteflies will fly off the foliage all at once.

The whitefly thrives in a greenhouse or growroom setting where it enjoys the warm weather and ambient humidity and are notoriously difficult to prevent. Whiteflies rarely arrive as just one insect and often swarm a greenhouse by the hundreds without any warning. Most often a grower will cover the plants with fine netting in order to prevent the flies from even landing on the plants.

Certain strains of marijuana are more at risk for developing whiteflies. Insecticidal soaps and neem oil work to control these irritating, highly damaging insects. There are some commercial insecticides available to prevent and control whitefly, which are considered very effective.

Along white whiteflies, other common insects to look out for in a marijuana growroom include spider mites, fungus gnats, and aphids.


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