Most pests are simple to kill. Mosquito siphoning your corpuscles? A quick slap dispatches it. Whiteflies on your tomato plant? Kill a dozen just by clapping your hands. Japanese beetles munching on your crapemyrtles? A quick spray sends hundreds to the afterlife.
The individual pests are ridiculously easy to exterminate. It is more complicated, though, when you attempt to eradicate an entire population of the critters. Though you massacre thousands of bothersome bugs, a few always seem to survive. These few are equipped to quickly reproduce and repopulate your garden, seemingly overnight.
When you deal with a numerous pest, it’s better to make your goal population reduction rather than elimination.
WHITEFLIES are a good example. An infested gardenia or tomato can have thousands of the sap-sucking insects on its leaves. You can kill ninety percent of them with a single spray. A week later, a cloud of bugs arises each time you brush by the plant. The ones who avoided the poisonous blast laid eggs, made babies and bounced back from obliteration.
Whiteflies can be managed with a variety of strategies but it is almost impossible to eliminate them. Scientists have discovered that the color yellow, to a whitefly, is like the sight of neon to a compulsive gambler. They fly directly toward the yellow object, hoping it is attached to a plant they can infest. Crafty gardeners have taken this information and devised whitefly traps that lure them to a sticky death.
My favorite trap is simplicity itself. Drive two, four-foot long wooden stakes into the ground on either side of a plant where you’ve seen whiteflies. Upend a yellow plastic cup ( Solo ™ brand works great) onto each stake and nail or staple it in place. Paint the outside of the cup with thick automotive oil treatment (STP ™ is an example).
Whiteflies cruising in the vicinity land on the yellow cup, hoping for a good meal. Instead, it is the last landing they ever accomplish, for the sticky oil treatment holds them in a gooey grip of death. It won’t eliminate all of your whiteflies but you will be amazed at the number of insects caught on the cup in just a few days.