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Do White Flies Bite

White flies

Imagine coming home from the grocery store and you are bringing your groceries inside the front door. You decide to look to your left at your plants to see how they are doing in the beautiful weather. Low and behold, you see something small and in clumps that is a white color on your foliage. You quickly bring your groceries inside and come out to take a closer look. What are these tiny winged creatures on your plant leaves? They appear to be some sort of fly. This begins to make you nervous as most flies seem to bite. Do white flies bite? No, white flies enjoy the sap from the plants leaves and are mainly interested in laying more eggs and reproducing.

Let’s take a look below at what whiteflies are and how we get rid of whiteflies.

Where Are They

Whiteflies are primarily found on your plants and shrubs outside the home. Just like aphids, whiteflies are garden dwellers. They consist of tiny pale pests that suck the sap from plants and spread diseases. Due to them being so small, they can also fit through any screening. This allows them access to greenhouses and other indoor plant spaces.

Whiteflies on the back of cabbage leaf.

How Can I Get Rid Of Them

There are various ways to get rid of whiteflies. While the best way is to hire a qualified pest control company, you can use organic ways or environmental ways to get rid of them on your own. White flies are tiny white bugs that feed on plants as a food source and the good news is they don’t bite.

Organic Ways:

  • Water – simply try knocking the flies off with a strong pressure spray nozzle. This will knock the nymphs off the leaves and leave them starving in the yard.
  • Vacuum – believe it or not you can use a handheld vacuum to suction the larvae, eggs, and tiny white flies off the plant leaves. Be careful not to suck up the leaves as you vacuum.
  • Garlic Spray – Using a garlic spray releases an aroma that is foul at best. This will drive the flies off the leaves and leave them starving to death.
  • Insecticidal Soap – Insecticidal soaps will coat the eggs and larvae and prevent them from breathing. The adult white flies will also die due to lack of oxygen.
  • Horticultural Oils – any variety of horticultural oils will prevent the white flies from continuing their life stages. Eventually, they will die off.
  • Pyrethrin-based spray – this is a fatty oil spray that coats the eggs and nymphs and allows the pyrethrin to poison all life stages of the white flies. It’s also safe for the plants.
Yellow sticky trap catches flies.

Environmental Ways:

  • Yellow Sticky-Trap – these attract whiteflies as they are fooled into thinking its a flower. Once they land on the sticky portion, they cannot fly away to lay eggs.
  • Natural predators – keeping ladybugs, dragonflies, lacewings, and even hummingbirds in and around the garden area will help control the whitefly population.

Which Ones Do Bite

Most homeowners are not aware of the variety of flies in the world. Unless the flies are a nuisance we often don’t even pay attention. We know that whiteflies don’t bite, but there are other flies that do. Here is a list of flies that enjoy the human skin/blood.

  • Horse flies – one of the larger flies. Due to their size, they can inflict a very painful bite to the human skin.
  • Deer flies – use their scissor like mouths to slice open your skin and suck your blood. This is a very painful bite. Typically around in the spring time.
  • Black flies – love rivers and creeks. Have a humpback shape to them. Are a huge nuisance all around the U.S. Primarily bother the northern states.
  • Stable flies – around in early summer to late fall and they love livestock. Pointed mouth to easily suck blood.
  • Snipe flies – love damp areas in the forest. Closely related to a deer fly. Not normally a biter, but will occasionally use their mouths to inflict and irritating bite.
  • Sand flies – very painful bite. Love to feed on reptiles and mammals. Long legs and v-shaped wings.
  • Yellow flies – found in the southeastern U.S. Love wooded and water areas. Bites leave an area of swelling and itch.
  • Mosquitoes – largely known as a carrier of many disease types. Due to the transmission of blood from person to person. Love to bite people and bite at night. They are very harmful to humans.
  • Biting midges – tiny enough to slip through the screen. Found mostly in coastal areas. Breed in salt marsh areas and love to bite anything it can get food from.

All of these winged insects love to feast on an organism’s blood.

While studying up what whiteflies are and what they do, take a look at the common pests in Florida. Understanding what they get into and how they hurt or help your home and yard is important to pest control.

Another area to look at is moles in your yard. Do you think they are harmful? Guess what? They aren’t! In fact, they eat the insects and aerate your lawn so you need to keep them around.

Lastly, if you have been in a place where the temperature drops below 50 degrees in the winter, there are no bees. Where do the bees go in winter? Well, they go into their hives and cluster together to stay warm until the temperatures rise again.

Whiteflies on a branch.

When Do I Call A Professional

Once you come across whiteflies in your garden it is time to act. Get out to the local hardware store to purchase an environmentally friendly insecticidal soap or liquid. You can get a jump start on keeping the whiteflies from expanding. Once you have started this process, call on your local pest control service. Getting a professional pest inspection is a key to making sure that you do not end up with other pest infestations.


When it comes to insects, keep in mind that they don’t always come inside your home to cause problems. There are plenty of insects that can drive you crazy by destroying your lawn, plants, trees, and other shrubberies. This can get expensive in terms of replacing those items. New sod is not cheap and most times, a new seed is not either. Depending on where you live, these outdoor insects can become a large nuisance.

It is your best bet to hire a pest control company to keep you clean and clear of insects and pests on the outside portions of your home. Call Honor Services and we will gladly assist you with some pest control recommendations while conducting a thorough pest inspection in Melbourne, FL, and surrounding areas.

Michelle Shishilla

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