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What are the white bugs on my lupins?

If you are enjoying growing and having lupins in your garden then you will be on guard against any potential bugs that might attack them. And if you are paying close attention you may have noticed some little white bugs on your lupins. What are these white bugs and what does it mean for your lupins?

Lupins in bloom
Lupins in bloom

What are the white bugs on my lupins?

Small white bugs on the underside of a lupin will be whitefly. If the bugs are covering the stems and more of a silvery grey then they may be lupin aphids. Read on to discover the difference between the two.

White Fly

Little white bugs on your lupins are most probably whitefly. These are tiny little flies that lay eggs on the underside of the leaves of a lupin plant. They don’t only nest on lupins but can actually be found on lots of different plants and are a common greenhouse pest.

While in their larvae form they will feast on the leaves of your lupins and can cause considerable damage.

whitefly on a cucumber leaf
whitefly on a cucumber leaf

How to get rid of whitefly

So if you have found that you have a whitefly problem then you will want to get to work getting rid of them before they can cause too much damage. Below I will give you some of my best methods for getting rid of them.

Ladybirds

Ladybirds love feasting on whitefly and a single ladybird can eat thousands of them in a lifetime. So if you have lots of whiteflies then you don’t have enough ladybirds in your garden, but how can you fix this?

Aphid Super Predators!
Live Ladybird Larvae x 50

These native British Adalia Bipunctata ladybird larvae have a huge appetite for soft -bodied garden pests such as aphids (greenfly and blackfly), spider mite, scale, mealy-bug etc.


We earn a commission from any items purchased through this link at no charge to yourself. This helps fund what we do here!

These are live ladybirds in their larvae form. You can apply them directly to the plant where they will immediately get to work munching on whiteflies. When old enough they will transform into ladybirds and continue munching on the flies, win-win!

Hose them off

You can quite often blast whitefly off your lupin’s leaves by using a hose. If doing this it would also be advisable to remove the leaves with a heavier infestation in order to remove the larvae and prevent them from reproducing.

Doing this regularly can help keep whitefly infestations under control but it is likely to kill them off completely.

Bug Spray

Probably the most common option and also the most effective. You can get organic bug sprays but they are never as good as the non-organic ones.

If you just want to kill the whitefly and save your lupins then I recommend the miracle grow bug spray. I have used this spray myself after being recommended it by another gardener and it really does work wonders.

Kills Lupin Aphids
Miracle-Gro Bug Clear Ultra Gun 1Ltr

Kills all major insect pests, including whitefly, greenfly, black fly, red spider mite, caterpillars and lily beetle, scale insects and mealy bugs For use on flowers, fruit and vegetables.


We earn a commission from any items purchased through this link at no charge to yourself. This helps fund what we do here!

Lupin Aphids

Lupin aphids are a really common problem with lupins. They are a sort of silvery green but can sometimes also look white. They can completely takeover a plant, and quickly. As you can see in the photo below, they can completely cover the stem of a lupin plant.

Aphids on lupins

Lupin aphids don’t “eat” the plant per se, but this does not mean that they are not dangerous to the plant. They suck the sap out of the plant and if there is a large enough infestation they will do enough damage to cause the lupin to droop and sometimes even die.

You want to try and take steps to control aphids as soon as you see a few on your lupin as they can take over really quickly.

How to get rid of lupin aphids

So you’ve found aphids on your lupins, how do you kill them off? I have a few ideas for you below, some organic and some not.

Bug Spray

As with whitefly bug spray will happily kill lupin aphids. This is the spray I would recommend. There are also other bug sprays you can use and even stuff like rose clear can work well.

Kills Lupin Aphids
Miracle-Gro Bug Clear Ultra Gun 1Ltr

Kills all major insect pests, including whitefly, greenfly, black fly, red spider mite, caterpillars and lily beetle, scale insects and mealy bugs For use on flowers, fruit and vegetables.


We earn a commission from any items purchased through this link at no charge to yourself. This helps fund what we do here!

Homemade Sprays

There are lots of old wives’ tales when it comes to homemade aphid sprays which may be worth trying out but I must say I have not used them myself as they never seem to work.

Garlic spray, mix some crushed garlic in a spray bottle with plenty of water, spray directly onto the aphids and wait around an hour before spraying off with regular water to rinse the flowers.

Soap spray is also meant to work well on lupin aphids. Mix some washing up soap with water before applying and rinsing off as above.

Knock them off

Aphids don’t like being knocked off lupins and can struggle to get back up onto the plant. If you regularly knock them off the plant and squash a few then this can help to keep the infestation in check and is about as organic as gardening gets.

Ladybirds

Just as they will with whiteflies ladybirds will love to munch down on lupin aphids.

Aphid Super Predators!
Live Ladybird Larvae x 50

These native British Adalia Bipunctata ladybird larvae have a huge appetite for soft -bodied garden pests such as aphids (greenfly and blackfly), spider mite, scale, mealy-bug etc.


We earn a commission from any items purchased through this link at no charge to yourself. This helps fund what we do here!

These are live ladybirds in their larvae form. You can apply them directly to the plant where they will immediately get to work munching on aphids. When old enough they will transform into ladybirds and continue munching on aphids, win-win!

Other common pests

apart from whiteflies and aphids, the next most common pest you will find harming your lupins is the classic slugs and snail. These things love lupins, why not read my will slugs eat lupins article to find out more.

More on Lupins

Lupins are a beautiful flower that you will find in many British gardens. Lupins are a staple of British cottage gardens, famed for both their height and colour. Originally hailing from the Mediterranean they are a perennial that will greet you with a gorgeous display year after year.

Lupins in a border
Lupins in a border

They produce a large flowering spike that is full of colour and each plant can have lots of these spikes leading to a fabulous display. They will begin to flower around may and can last well into June. The flowers do go to seed quite quickly but your lupin will continue to produce more and more new spikes.

To get the best out of these spikes though it is essential to deadhead the old spikes to give the new ones a chance to flourish. Also cutting your lupins back in autumn can help them the following spring. The seeds are edible but if not treated properly first they can be poisonous to animals and humans. Greenfly can be a common problem for lupins here in the UK.

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