White flies invading house plants


Can you recommend an address of a reputable company who can identify some indoor pests? They
re moths, and I wonder if they’re the LDD moths, which have been increasing recently.


Dear gardener, thank you for this question.

The Toronto Master Gardeners do not directly recommend companies to their readers. However, if you take your houseplant to any reputable plant nursery, they will direct you to their pest expert, who will be able to help you.

As you implied, the spongy moth, previously known as the European gypsy moth or LDD moth (with various Latin names: Lymantria dispar asiaticaLymantria dispar japonicaLymantria umbrosaLymantria postalba and Lymantria albescens), has become a horribly invasive pest in Canada. You did not include a photo of the moths that are haunting your houseplants, but I do not think it is the spongy moth. The spongy moth seems to specialize in invading trees.

Here are a couple of websites that you may find interesting to learn more about the spongy moth: Inspections Canada; Govt of Canada_invasive species

The most common white flying creatures that invade house plants are white flies (Hemipterans), which are actually neither real moths or flies. Whiteflies are not true flies but are more closely related to scales, mealybugs, and aphids. They are very small, about 1/10– to 1/16 -inch long. They have a powdery white appearance and resemble tiny moths. When at rest, the wings are held at an angle, roof-like over the body.

For more information on white flies, you may wish to go to this website: Clemson College of Agriculture.  Please keep in mind that Toronto is very strict about the use of pesticides, and therefore please do not follow pesticide recommendations from American websites. This same site also has some really good prevention tips on how to ensure that your houseplants are healthy when you buy them, and how to keep them healthy. I do hope you get to the bottom of this problem.