Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Question:
I attended a composting workshop in April '06 at Birney Elementary School in Long Beach. The instructor mentioned a recipe to kill white flies. I have a hibiscus plant that continues to be plagued by these flies. I don't want to use chemicals because there are these tiny black/grey birds that like to eat the flies but they don't eat them all.

I have also heard that we have bats in the area. Is that true? I live next to Seal Beach where there is a wetlands located on the Seal Beach Navy Base. If we do have bats, I'd like to find a bathouse for my yard. I hear that they consume 500 bugs an hour. Is it safe to house bats in suburbia??

Please forward me the white fly recipe. Is it a recipe to use on any plant for any problem ie snails? Thanks!

ANSWER:
Thank you for visiting our website.

The following is the insecticidal soap recipe you requested to kill whiteflies:

Materials:
1 Container to mix and store the solution in
1 Spray bottle

Ingredients:
1 cup of oil (Vegetable oil, peanut, corn, soybean, etc...)
1 tablespoon of Ivory liquid soap (or other pure soap... no perfumes etc...)

Directions:
Mix the soap and the oil well, shaking vigorously to form a smooth suspension. Add 2 teaspoons of the mixture to every cup of water in the spray bottle when ready to use. Shake well. Shake the bottle vigorously before spraying. Use extreme caution not to get the solution into your eyes (don’t rub your eyes with your hands when you’re mixing or using the solution, either).

Spray where you want the bugs to die, particularly on the underside of plants. Some plants may be adversely affected, so be sure to test the spray out on a small area, then wait 2-3 days to see how the plant reacts. Adding garlic or pepper to the above recipe may also help make it more effective on some other insects.

Hibiscuses are particularly susceptible to whiteflies, so you may need repeated applications to gain adequate control.

As for snails, by adding 1 tablespoon of capsicum extract to the solution, you will not kill the snails, but the snails will move on to other plants. This solution is moderately effective against snails, but only if there are other plants available for the snails to feed on.

Regarding your question on bats, there are over 20 species of bats living in and around the County of Los Angeles. Creating a local habitat for bats, or a bat “house”, is a great conservation tool. Some really excellent information, including plans on building your own bat house, is available from the bat conservation, rescue, education and welfare group (link provided below). Just remember, bats are wild animals and can bite in self-defense.

Links:
  BATCREW
whiteflies recipe