Whiteflies Must Die

I’ve been happily inspecting my vegetable garden each morning.  My Master Gardener instructor said he keeps insecticide sprays to a minimum.  For the most part, he just finds the bad bugs and squishes them.

I was happily inspecting, because I wasn’t finding anything.  But, as fate would have it, the day before a five-day business trip with my husband, I found scores of little white critters under the leaves of my bell pepper plants.  I squished, and squished, and squished some more.  It was mass murder…genocide.  But I kept finding more of those tiny, white critters.

I went inside and did a Google search.  Who would have known that whiteflies are a problem with bell peppers?  I read about all the insecticides you can battle them with, but I really didn’t want to do that to my vegetable plants.  I found another solution…marigolds.  Apparently, whiteflies can’t stand the smell of them.

I called my husband immediately, who was in town, tying up some loose ends before we left on our trip.

“Honey, can you pick up about six marigold plants in town, before you head home?”

“What?”

“Our pepper plants have whiteflies, but they hate the smell of marigolds.  I need marigolds!”

“So you want me to get some mean-looking ones?”

“Exactly.  This is war.”

He brought back the little potted, golden warriors, and I placed them strategically between my bell pepper plants.  We headed down the Florida gulf coast…farther and farther away from my endangered vegetable garden.

Will they be OK?

Our son just called me.  A thunderstorm with torrential downpours is pounding on my garden.  No matter that the garage is flooded and the skylights are leaking. 

Will my garden survive?

Even more troubling is the thought that those pesky little whiteflies have amassed themselves under the leaves of my bell pepper plants, and will be somewhat shielded from the storm.  Worse yet, the pelting rain will probably keep the malicious marigold scent from deterring the whiteflies.

Will my garden survive the storm?  And if so, will it survive the whiteflies?

In the past, I remember worrying on the few occasions when we left our young children in the care of others.  Later on, I worried about leaving our pets.  Now, the garden has added a whole new arena of worry.

If my garden is still standing upon my return, all I can say is, “Whiteflies, prepare to die!”

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2 Responses to “Whiteflies Must Die”

  1. Tony Says:

    You know, this is some great info on the white fly menace. But, did the marigolds work? You kind of left out the result of your experiment? Have you noticed a difference? The last two years we have had a white fly infestation. They’re back again this year, too. We are just seeing them right now. And now that you mention it, we haven’t planted marigolds in the last few years. Maybe we will go pick some up. 🙂

    • judyransom Says:

      Hi, Tony. I didn’t know the outcome when I wrote this blog post. Since then, I’ve spoken with my neighbor who gave me the heirloom tomato plants. He said if the white bugs fly around when you touch the plant, it’s probably white flies. If they don’t move, it’s probably aphids. So I think my pests were aphids. I used an insecticidal soap to get rid of them. But now the blossoms keep withering and dropping off the tomato plants. The extension agent said it might be because they’re not getting pollinated. My hybrids seem to be doing OK, though. This is all new to me, so I’m learning as I go. I hope your white flies are gone!

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