Whiteflies are small gnat-like insects, covered in a powdery white wax that feed on the sap of plants. This causes leaf-drop and weakens the plant in general. Whiteflies secrete a sticky substance called honeydew while they feed. The flying adults lay eggs on the tops of leaves, but it is the immature nymph stage, feeding unnoticed on the underside of the leaves, that does the real damage. yellow sticky cardsThis small dark skinny pest flies and jumps around plants and people driving us all crazy. Fungus gnats develop in moist potting soil, feeding on root hairs and emerging as adults every 30 days. The best way to get rid of fungus gnats is to allow the soil to thoroughly dry out. This eliminates the eggs and gnats in the pot. Use yellow sticky cards to trap the gnats that are flying around. are a good way to trap the flying adults and prevent new eggs. Spray an insecticide or the the green solutionIf you don't want to use a commercial chemical product to treat plant pest problems try the “Green Solution.” This is a mixture of water, alcohol, biodegradable liquid soap, and mineral oil. Always test any spray on one or two leaves to be sure it won’t damage the plant. Depending upon how severe the infestation is, you can use these ingredients in varying proportions. If there are only a few pests, dip a Q-tip in alcohol and gently swab them off. For a more widespread problem, start by using a spray of warm water mixed with a few tablespoons of biodegradable soap. If that doesn’t cure the problem, make a solution using 8oz. water & 8oz. alcohol, add two tablespoons of biodegradable soap and two tablespoons of mineral oil. Spray all areas of the plant. Use this solution on leathery leafed plants (except palms), never on fuzzy leafed plants like African Violets or Begonias. For palms, omit the alcohol from the Green Solution. Never spray a plant that’s sitting in the sun or one with very dry soil. (recipe in the Glossary) to get rid of the feeding nymphs on the underside of the leaves.