Plant diseases

Whitefly on citrus. Symptoms and Treatment

The whitefly is a class of insect that is part of the family composed of the ” Aleurodids “.

In general, these insects grow approximately three millimeters and go through about four stages during 12 months depending on the climate and when they are in greenhouses they may even have ten stages.

They normally appear in humid environments whose climates are composed of high temperatures, this is the reason why Spain turns out to be an ideal country for the development of these insects, especially during the summer.

Apart from this, it is necessary to mention that the whitefly plague normally settles on citrus crops, being the most prominent because it conditions any intervention carried out in the other pests and/ or diseases of which they are usually victims. The citrus.


Among the main symptoms that trees present when they are affected by the presence of the whitefly, it is usually the yellow color that their leaves acquire, which also become discolored and little by little they dry out until they fall.

Apart from this, the leaves develop a layer composed of a shiny and sticky substance called honeydew, which is expelled by insects. Said molasses causes other inconveniences in an indirect way, since its sweetness inevitably attracts ants, mites and mealybugs, pests that end up being protected by whiteflies when applying phytosanitary treatments.

Likewise, the presence of these insects causes weakening of the budding on which it is located and even defoliation (depending on the variety). And when it comes to young plants, it is possible that the whitefly causes the death of the species.

However, and in most cases, the damage is usually limited due to agricultural production and a decrease in the aesthetic value of ornamental plants.

There are different methods to treat the presence of whitefly in citrus crops, which are:

Control treatments

Use yellow chromatic traps

It is possible to buy them and/ or make them easily at home, since they are basically yellow cardboard together with a little adhesive material. The yellow color attracts these types of flies, so placing this class of traps around the affected plants will allow control of whitefly populations.

Manual removal

Because it is the least harmful treatment, it is usually best to remove this insect manually; It is possible to do it when the number of insects is small and you have to have great patience, since being a small flying insect, it can be a bit complex.


It only works with really small populations. When using this technique it is necessary to make sure to use the lowest level of suction from the vacuum cleaner, in order to keep the affected plants protected from greater damage.

Home Treatment

It consists, for example, of macerating garlic or tobacco, preparing chilli and garlic infusion, and using fermented ivy extract and/ or decoction of lamenta.

Ecological treatments

Neem oil

It alters the life cycle of the whitefly, since it is a powerful insecticide that is obtained through both the fruits and the seeds of the tree that bears its name. It is possible to add it to the irrigation water to ensure that it is assimilated by the plant and remains inside for longer.

It is advisable to apply it every five days in order to cover the life cycle of the insect.

Potassium soap

It works through contact and makes it possible to weaken the whitefly’s exoskeleton ; Furthermore, it is possible to complement its application with the use of Neem oil.


The most convenient thing is to apply it every five days, since in this way it is possible to cover the life cycle of the whitefly.

If you want your citrus fruits not to suffer the attack of these annoying insects, follow our advice.

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