White bugs on tomato plants are the pests that every plant owner fears because they may cause harm in the long run. Not only do these flies suck out the plant’s health, but they also lead it to its death if not treated.White Bugs on Tomato Plants

This article details why white flies are bad for a tomato plant and suggests solutions to the infestation. So read on for some great tips and the best ways to get rid of them.

What Are The Causes of Having White Bugs on Tomato Plants?

The causes of white bugs on tomato plants are nutritional deficiency, fungal attacks or diseases, and ant attacks. They can also come due to the extreme heat of the climate, and lastly, being attracted to the harmful virus of the plant.

– Nutritional Deficiency

Whiteflies will harm your tomato plant in several ways, which is the most dangerous. They will take nutrients away from your tomato plant by sucking on the phloem, causing it to become weak and may be unable to perform photosynthesis.

The leaves will then wilt and turn pale or yellow. Plants will become more susceptible to disease, growth will be stunted, and tomato fruit production will drop. The tomato plant may eventually die if nothing is done to prevent this.

This is because these wingless nymphs have a flattened, oval, nearly scale-like shape. They settle down and stick themselves to the underside of leaves after the first instar, or crawler stage, and begin feeding. When they spot a nutritional deficient crop, such as tomatoes, you would see that they are very keen on attacking.

These are the pests that have a flattened, oval shape that is nearly scale-like, and you would spot it on the weak tomato. They settle down and stick vest to the underside of leaves after the first instar, or crawler stage, and begin feeding, so they would weaken it even more.Causes of White Bugs on Tomato Plants

– Fungus and Disease

As the plants become more susceptible to disease because of the white fly infestation, growth will stop, tomato fruit production will decrease, the tomato seedlings will die, and the leaves will turn pale or yellow, showing a lack of photosynthesis.

These white bugs can increase in number, like an aphid infestation, and exude honeydew, a sugary fluid that can cause a fungal infection of your plants known as black sooty mold. If not controlled, black sooty mold can block sunlight from reaching plant leaves, turning them yellow.

The white adult bugs would not come and live in the soil, but the young may, and this would be due to the fungal diseases that are present in the soil. They would spend most of their life on the plant, but larvae might end up in potting soil, so a plant may appear healthy but harbor an infestation in the future.

Plants become weakened and vulnerable to disease, because these bugs can exude honeydew, and this way, the sticky residue would be covered in a black sooty mold. They are also in charge of the spread of various plant viruses.

– Extreme Heat

Stress and exposure to extreme heat cause tomato plants to be vulnerable to white flies. Therefore, to protect the plant against infestation, tomato plants need to be kept in good-ventilated areas where the temperate is not too much, and the environment is not very stressful. Hence, with this heat, you may find them around the leaves of the tomatoes as they are trying to find shelter to grow in their number as well.

– Attracted Due to Harmful Viruses

When you see these bugs, they are especially dangerous because they can disrupt the plant’s warning system. When they bite a plant, it sends the information that the attack is microbial, forcing the plant under attack and neighboring plants to invest in the incorrect type of defense.

When they begin to infest, they also start feeding; damage symptoms include stem blanching, chlorotic patches, leaf yellowing and shedding, and plant mortality at high population levels. Bemisia tabaci causes indirect damage to numerous crops since it is responsible for transmitting several harmful viruses.

How To Free Tomato Plants From White Bugs?

To free tomato plants from white bugs, you can use pressured water, regularly inspect and clean the debris, or use some mulch, or the right insecticidal soap. You can also try to place sticky traps, introduce predator pests, use pesticides, or apply organic oil.

These pests would be bad news for tomato plants, especially if you were dreaming of summer with fresh vine-ripe tomatoes to suck on. Fortunately, there are ways to eliminate white flies from tomato plants and enjoy the summer dream again.

– Use Pressure Water

As soon as you notice contaminated leaves, remove them. If you hose them down, the adults will be removed from your tomato plants, and it also works on spider mites and other plant bugs like tomato hornworms.

The pressurized water will help eliminate most bugs, but some will still stick around. For them, use a soft brush along with water to brush them off the leaves. If the brush is too hard, there is a risk of damaging the leaves, so be mindful of this, and make sure to aim at the bugs.

– Regular Inspections and Cleaning

Before buying tomato transplants, check the underside of the leaves for whiteflies or their nymphs, which resemble little white pods. Shake the plant gently to encourage adult flies to fly; if whiteflies are present, avoid bringing the plants home. Weed the tomato bed and surrounding areas weekly to prevent dead plant material from accumulating—the breeding site for the pests are old plant waste.Remedies for White Bugs on Tomato Plants

– Use Mulch

Before planting tomato transplants, cover the bed with silver-colored plastic mulch to discourage the bugs. Silver mulch protects immature tomato plants for four to six weeks or until the foliage gets lush and blocks the mulch.

Applying aluminum reflective mulch early in the growing season is the most effective defense against these bugs to infest on plants. You should particularly use it around vegetable crops like tomatoes and peppers, and they find it challenging to find their favorite plant hosts due to the shiny mulch.

– Use Insecticidal Soap

Spray the soap on affected tomato plants, concentrating the spray beneath the leaves where pests cluster and breed. Repeat the application every three days until there are no more of them.

Spray at night to avoid contact with beneficial insects, because this soap only works while wet; rinse the plants with clean water the next day to remove any residue. Leaving it on may result in the leaves yellowing and falling off.

– Place Sticky Traps

You can get a spray-free option from your local gardening store, but basically, it’s a yellow sticky sheet of paper that the flies attach to. Many people use it with moderate success, and there is a high chance that you might get other things apart from the white flies.

The success of this step is less impactful than others since the paper will only be able to catch flies that travel near it, and others might still linger free. You can use the flypaper with other methods for better results as they aren’t any chemical spreads.

In addition, you can also manage the adult population and reduce breeding, by placing yellow sticky traps around the base of plants. Replace the traps if they lose their stickiness or get encrusted with flies.

– Introduce Predator Pests

Lacewings are beneficial insects since they consume these bugs and other pests and do not bite or sting. The larval green lacewing is skilled at combating pests such as scale insects, thrips, greenhouse, five-spotted hawk moth, and others.

There are 22 species of green lacewings in Florida, all of which are members of the Chrysopidae family. Lacewings can be purchased from beneficial insect vendors in the vegetable garden.White Bugs on Tomato Plants Solved

Ladybugs, also known as ladybird beetles, are insects that are thought to be useful to people because most of them devour other insects that graze on our plants. Other than the pests, some of their favorites are tiny black flies on tomato plants.

Remember that many insecticides kill both pests and beneficial insects. If you must apply a pesticide, ensure it kills the pests, you’re dealing with. Finally, supply pollen and nectar sources that are appealing to helpful insects.

Choose a wide range of plants with numerous little blooms that bloom at different periods of the year. You can also try companion planting if your yard has plenty of space. The companion plants will deter pests from forming a bug infestation.

Lastly, you can also go ahead and breed some hummingbirds, as they are another natural predator that can help limit the population of these bugs. We suggest working to develop a habitat that attracts dragonflies or hummingbirds, which operate as natural enemies of these pests.

– Pesticides

If populations are large, apply a low-toxicity, short-lived organic pesticide to establish control before releasing predatory insects to maintain control. However, once beneficial insects have been released, it is not advisable to apply insecticides because white flies are usually immune to them, and using insecticides would simply kill the natural predators that are assisting you in controlling their population.Spraying Pesticides to Tomato Plants

You may also go ahead and use natural or organic ones, because white adult bugs can be killed using a simple DIY solution of liquid dish detergent and safe water for plants, and this is also the best insecticide you can use. Mix one tablespoon of liquid dish soap into one gallon of water. Fill a plastic spray bottle halfway with the solution and spray it over all affected plants, wetting the top and undersides of the leaves as well as the stems.

– Apply Organic Oil

To kill eggs, larvae, and adults, organic Neem Oil can be used on vegetables, fruit trees, and flowers to smother the white pests. Spray all leaf surfaces, including the undersides of leaves, with a gallon of water until totally soaked. These horticultural oils will suffocate insects and are extremely efficient against all stages of this pest.

Tea tree oil, frequently combined with neem, another extracted tree oil, as a plant-safe disinfection soap, is the best essential oil spray for white bugs. This natural spray repels the white colored bugs and prevents pupae from developing on leaf surfaces.

The bugs spread to other plants when infected soil is reused. In this case, it’s recommended to use diatomaceous earth because it stops the larvae from breeding in the ground.


Like most plants, tomato plants can also develop a serious white fly infestation that requires immediate attention, so you should keep in mind the followings:

  • Whiteflies cause innumerable damage to the tomato plant, from nutritional deficiency to making it vulnerable to diseases.
  • As soon as white flies are detected, timely solutions may allow the plant to thrive; otherwise, with time, its health with slowly deteriorate.
  • In addition to providing the right solution, you must ensure the plant is in a stress-free environment with ample ventilation; otherwise, the white flies will return.

There you go, now; with the right solution, soon you will have a thriving bunch of tomato plants to feel proud of.

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