Identifying Whiteflies

On this page
  • Silverleaf whitefly pupae
  • Silverleaf whitefly adult
  • Greenhouse whitefly with nymphs
  • Greenhouse whitefly adult

It is important to distinguish between silverleaf whiteflies, which cause the most serious damage to peppers, and other whiteflies. You can distinguish between silverleaf whiteflies and greenhouse whiteflies by examining fourth-instar nymphs with a hand lens.

Fourth-instar nymphs of greenhouse whiteflies have long waxy filaments around the edge of their bodies, whereas those of silverleaf whitefly do not. Use the photos below to help you with your identification.

Names link to more information on biology and management. Click on photos to enlarge.
Silverleaf whitefly

Silverleaf whitefly pupae.

Nymphs are convex or rounded in profile. From above they are oval, whitish, soft and, unlike 4th instar greenhouse whitefly nymphs, do not have filaments.

Silverleaf whitefly

Silverleaf whitefly adult.

Adults hold their wings rooflike over their bodies. The wings do not meet in the back as they do in greenhouse whitefly adults, but have a slight space between them.

Greenhouse whitefly

Greenhouse whitefly with nymphs.

Nymphs are elevated in profile with edges perpendicular like a cake or hat box. They have many long waxy filaments around the edge of their bodies.

Greenhouse whitefly

Greenhouse whitefly adult.

Adults are very similar in appearance to silverleaf whitefly adults, but hold their wings flatter over the back with no space between the wings where they meet in the center.

Top of page

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
All contents copyright © 2016 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

For noncommercial purposes only, any Web site may link directly to this page. FOR ALL OTHER USES or more information, read Legal Notices. Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual solutions to specific pest problems. See our Home page, or in the U.S., contact your local Cooperative Extension office for assistance.

Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

Accessibility   /PMG/C604/m604bpwhitefly.html revised: June 24, 2016. Contact webmaster.