I am considering your sticky white fly traps for my greenhouse. My situation is that I manage the greenhouse in abstentia with a water drip system on a timer. Sometimes it is two weeks between visits. Next year I plan to put a few traps out at planting time and them more traps if infestation happens.
A question – Can I compost my infected plants over winter or should I move them out of the greenhouse? Will eggs survive over the winter? I live on the north coast of California.
As you know, white flies can be a persistent problem once established on a plant. As our WHITE FLY CONTROL ARTICLE explains, their eggs will generally be placed (laid) on infested plants. But this is not the only location. Many times leaves and other plant debris will fall from the infected plant exposing both the ground as well as neighboring plants. Remember, white flies fly! Though they tend to stay close to one another, moving onto surrounding plants is only natural and very much a big reason why they are such a nuisance. On top of that, eggs are quite capable of surviving even the harshest of winters. This means that failure to either treat infected plants or to remove the visible population will usually result in a continuing problem.
So to answer your question; the answer is no, you should not compost the infected plants over the winter. There is no doubt eggs will survive and begin anew the following year. I strongly urge you to remove plants which are “discovered” to host white flies and if this fails to eliminate the problem, consider one of the treatment options listed in our article. The Bifen and Nylar will surely solve any problem; several of our organic options like Insecticidal Soap or Multi Purpose Insect Killer are both gentle on plants and approved for organic gardening so they present little hazard when used properly.