Sucking pests

Whiteflies – primarily the nymphs – remove plant fluids with their piercing-sucking mouthparts resulting in leaf yellowing. Like aphids, whiteflies produce honeydew – a clear, sticky liquid.

Whitefly Adults
Whitefly adults are 3 mm long with two pairs of wings covered with powdery white wax. Adults tend to be located on the undersides of leaves.

Large whitefly populations may cause plant stunting, wilting and possibly death. Eggs, nymphs and pupae are typically located on the undersides of leaves.

Whitefly Nymphs
Whitefly nymphs are elliptical, 2 to 3 mm long and pale yellow, and they reside on leaf undersides. Some species have setae or hairs protruding from the body.


Remove weeds from adjacent areas – many weeds serve as a reservoir for whiteflies. Placing yellow sticky cards among plants, just above the canopy, will trap adults. Dispose of plants heavily infested with whiteflies. Prune out or remove plant parts with whiteflies and dispose of everything in plastic containers. Contact and systemic insecticides may be effective in controlling whiteflies.

Print a PDF of this page: Whiteflies

Back to IPM scouting in herbaceous perennials.

The MSU IPM Program maintains this site as an access point to pest management information at MSU. The IPM Program is administered within the Department of Entomology, fueled by research from the AgBioResearch, delivered to citizens through MSU Extension, and proud to be a part of Project GREEEN.