white·​fly | \ ˈ(h)wīt-ˌflī How to pronounce whitefly (audio) \

Definition of whitefly

: any of numerous small homopterous insects (family Aleyrodidae) that are injurious plant pests

Examples of whitefly in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Whiteflies, the bane of tomato greenhouses, which lay their eggs on tomato leaves, are controlled by the release of Encarsia formosa, a predatory, near-microscopic wasp that lays its eggs in immature whitefly. Luke Peterson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 18 Oct. 2021 Besides revealing a fascinating piece of biology, the findings may also help protect future crops from the sap-sucking whitefly, per Nature. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 30 Mar. 2021 The whitefly would have to ingest those phenolic glycosides when feeding on the tomato plant and that would usually kill it. Chris Smith, BGR, 26 Mar. 2021 Then, when the virus infected the whitefly, the plant DNA spread and was eventually incorporated into the bug’s genome. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 30 Mar. 2021 But the BtPMaT1 gene neutralizes these toxins, so the whitefly can continue to destroy crops undisturbed. Chris Smith, BGR, 26 Mar. 2021 Humans, too, could help by engineering crops that turn the whitefly’s gene off, making the insect vulnerable once again. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 25 Mar. 2021 Spray plants such as camellia, holly, gardenia, magnolia and privet with horticultural oil sprays to control scale and whitefly. Dan Gill, NOLA.com, 7 Oct. 2020 How to grow it: Think about kind options to maintain a healthy garden, such as having kids plant garden helpers like thyme and tansy, which both have strong oils that deter pesky bugs like aphids and whiteflies. Kier Holmes, National Geographic, 29 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'whitefly.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of whitefly

1896, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About whitefly

Time Traveler for whitefly

Time Traveler

The first known use of whitefly was in 1896

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near whitefly

white flux



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for whitefly

Cite this Entry

“Whitefly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whitefly. Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on whitefly

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about whitefly


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!