Tiny white flying insects all over veg and other plants

Asked August 16, 2018, 12:53 PM EDT

A few weeks ago my kale plants become covered with tiny white flying insects that flew off plants en mass when I brushed against plants. I tried pelting with blasts of water and then sprayed insecticidal soap all over. I cannot get rid of them. The sprays dislodge them but they are back in minutes - clouds of them . They are now on all other nearby plants also - tomatoes, cukes, beans and flowers like zinnias and mountain mint) any idea what they are (aphids, whitefly, mite?) and how to get rid of them?

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

We think you may have a whitefly infestation.
http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/whiteflies-vegetables

This pest has a very wide host range so you are seeing it on many crops.
Spinosad is a microbial (safe, organic) insecticide that may prove to be more effective than insecticidal soap.

Although it used to that whitefly infestations started with greenhouse grown plants and it was be very rare for this pest to overwinter outside, we are getting more reports of gardeners seeing whitefly in late winter and early spring on overwintered kale and collards. This may be do to climate change. So be aware that growing plants through fall and winter could enable this pest to overwinter as well. Clean up all garden plants and debris at the end of the season. jt