20160305A20160305BWhiteflies (whiteflies) can’t resist the color yellow: this color represents a plant in difficulty and there is nothing they like better than a weakened plant. You can turn this attraction to your advantage and get rid of the whiteflies infesting your houseplants… by dressing to kill.

On a cold day (it should be below freezing), put on your winter coat, pull a bright yellow sweater over top, then take a little stroll among the infested plants. Shake their stems from time to time make sure their whiteflies take notice. They’ll take off in panic… and settle on your yellow sweater, sometimes literally by the hundreds. Now just take a 15-minute walk outdoors. By the time you get back, they will all have fallen off, stunned by the cold. They simply can’t take freezing, at least not the adults.

Repeat every 3 or 4 days for 2 weeks. That will be necessary to catch all stages of the whiteflies’ life cycle, since their nymphs are immobile and can’t fly.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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