How to Kill Whiteflies on Plants

Things You'll Need

  • Hand-held vacuum

  • Large plastic bag

table top vacuum cleaner
You can battle whiteflies with a hand vacuum. (Image: Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Whiteflies on your plants can give you a good reason to worry. These tiny insects suck out plant juices, and a heavy infestation can weaken your plants and cause them to drop leaves. You can get rid of adult whiteflies using a basic household appliance.

Step 1

Plan your attack on the whiteflies in the morning. They move more slowly when the temperature is cool, according to the University of Missouri Extension.

Step 2

Turn on your hand-held vacuum. Sweep the vacuum near the foliage of your plants -- but don't touch the leaves. The whiteflies will be sucked into the vacuum.

Step 3

Turn off the vacuum and remove the insect-filled vacuum bag. Slip the vacuum bag into the plastic bag and secure the end with a twist-tie. If your hand-held vacuum doesn't have a bag, keep the vacuum running and place the canister end in the plastic bag. Turn off the vacuum and pull off motor/handle section, leaving the canister inside the bag. Quickly secure the end of the plastic bag.

Step 4

Put the plastic bag in the freezer for 24 hours to kill the whiteflies. Remove the plastic bag from the freezer and take out the vacuum bag or canister. Empty out the dead insects.


The vacuuming method is best used before the whiteflies have laid a lot of eggs, according to the University of Missouri Extension.

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