Asked on Feb 1, 2020

What are these white flies that are eating my pupkins?

Courtney |The Kitchen GartenCarrie @ Curly Crafty MomBetsy


I planted pumpkins last year and they were doing beautifully until suddenly they weren't. I discovered some type of white looking fly thing actually under the dirt eating them from the inside out and they completely obliterated about 100 plants in just a matter of a week. What can I do to keep this from happening again this year?

8 answers
  • Lifestyles Homes
    on Feb 1, 2020

    I killed white flies in CA with malathion, which is now discontinued. Sevin is made specifically for fruit & veggies and I would try that.

    I would also ask my County Extension Office what these grubs turn into, so maybe you can stop them when they’re reproducing.

    If you don’t want to use a garden chemical, I would go to a Ranch & Farm supply store & buy a bag of Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth.

    It kills insects by grinding through their exoskeletons when they walk through it. They don’t eat it.

    Since you’re going t be getting a 25 lb bag for the cost of 16 Oz of Sevin, put on latex or rubber gloves & scoop out enough to make little rings around the base of your plants and under them.

    Of course rain will wash it away, so it will need to be re-done.

    DE is non-toxic, so you don’t have to worry about pets.

  • Deb K
    on Feb 1, 2020

    Hi Michelle, hope this helps you out

  • Michelle Leslie
    on Feb 2, 2020

    HI Michelle, it looks like whitefly nymphs. They can be a bit of a bother but you can use Diatomaceous Earth. It's natural and works like a charm. You can find more information here -

  • Vimarhonor
    on Feb 2, 2020

    Hello. How frustrating.

    Additionally for the best local professional advice

    I would highly suggest contacting your cooperative extension. These offices are manned by volunteer master gardeners on site there waiting to answer the communities questions that know your local situation quite well.

    Master gardeners are required to volunteer back designated hours ( plus continuing education) each year to maintain MG certification -this community outreach and education is their goal. Our local office has a series of plant clinics to help identify and diagnose problems, including insects, educational seminars, plant sales and other events in the community for both adults and children.

    Best wishes in your gardening adventures!

  • Betsy
    on Feb 3, 2020

    Hi Michelle: Here's a site that tells all about that:

    As an alternative to potentially harmful, toxic pesticides, a simple mixture of mild hand soap or dish washing detergent may control whiteflies. Unlike insecticides, a soap spray has no lasting impact on the natural predators and parasites that usually keep whiteflies under control.

    Good luck

  • Spraying your plants with insecticidal soap or neem oil when you first see them will help. Don't forget the undersides of the leaves, since this is where they thrive. Good luck!

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