How To Get Rid Of Common Houseplant Pests
Indoor plants spend all of their time in conditions where they are no longer exposed to sunlight, warm temperatures, or adequate humidity. Because of this, they make easy prey for plants that find their way indoors. There are no natural predators in pest-filled areas, which means their population can increase rapidly. Your houseplants cannot survive if you wait until they are struggling. Look for signs that an insect has infested your indoor plants on a regular basis. Your best chance to save your houseplants is to catch them early.
Ten of the most likely suspects and how to control them are given here.
In most cases, aphids are small green, white, or yellow spots that appear on all parts of a plant. Inquisitive insects feed on plants’ stems and leaves, weakening them. Aphids reproduce so quickly that a plant can be covered with them in just a few days.
Aphids are soft-bodied insects that can be easily killed by a strong stream of water in the shower or repeated sprays of insecticide. Nevertheless, these pests are persistent, and you will have to remain vigilant to eradicate them from your houseplants.
Although broad mites and cyclamen mites are less common pests, they can cause considerable damage to the growing tips of plants. Although they are too small for the eye to see, you can tell if your houseplant’s tips start to look stunted, distorted, or its leaves begin curling if you see these symptoms. A few of my favorite plants are African violets, begonias, cyclamens, and tropical houseplants.
If the plant can be completely covered with the spray, you can use a miticide, insecticidal soap, or horticultural oil to treat the condition. A plant that has been infested with mites should simply be disposed of so as to not spread them.
The fungus gnats inhabit indoor plants and hover around them, building up a cloud when they are disturbed. Adults do not cause much damage to plants, but the larval stage consumes roots along with organic matter and fungi in the soil. Their preferred habitat is damp soil and they are a bigger problem for seedlings than for established plants.
It’s possible to catch adults with yellow sticky traps, which will reduce their population. During this time, the soil should be allowed to dry thoroughly, killing any egg and larvae in the area. You can use dryer sheets to keep the insects away.
There will always be squiggly lines running through a leaf when it has been damaged by leafminers. Although these are generally more of a nuisance outside, they are capable of following your plants inside as well. Small black flies produce leafminers as larvae. The larvae of the fly lay their eggs in the leaves and feed on them until they are mature enough to emerge.
In many cases, only cosmetic damage occurs. Unlike leafminer damage on edible greens, such as spinach and Swiss chard, leafminer damage on houseplants can just look unsightly. The adults of the flies can be trapped with blue sticky tape, and damaged leaves should be removed to prevent more emergences. Spinosad, for example, is one insecticide that controls leafminers. However, Leafsad is not usually required indoors.
Mealybugs look like small, white, cottony blobs that are usually attached at stem joints, although they are sometimes found further along the stem. They take up residence in plants and slowly feed on their suckers. When mealy bugs infest a plant, they often seem to be drying out, even if the plants were watered.
It is extremely difficult to eradicate mealybugs. Cut out the infested branches early if you catch the problem early. The mealybugs can also be dabbed with rubbing alcohol soaked cotton swabs. It would be best to get rid of infested plants if they become severely infested. There is only going to be an increase in mealy bugs.
The scale insect attaches itself to the stem of a plant, then covers itself with an oval shell that is hard and waterproof. Their feeding mechanism is similar to mealybugs, which slowly drain sap from plants, leaving them unable to survive.
It is very difficult to get rid of a scale infestation. The hard shells of these insects make pesticides difficult to penetrate. You may be able to remove the scales by rubbing them off with your nail or a soft brush. As scales develop, they must crawl unprotected to a new location to establish themselves. At this stage, you can spray insecticidal soap on the crawler scales. Protected adults are only minimally impacted by the soap.
Webbing left on plants by spider mites is particularly obvious on plants with dense foliage and in inner joints with plants. About the size of a pinhead, they feed on the juices of the plants. Leaves that have been attacked will have yellow stippling. The leaves will turn completely yellow and brittle as the infestation worsens, and they will soon die.
Spray the affected plants thoroughly with insecticidal soap to eliminate spider mites. Following the label’s directions, repeat as necessary.
A springtail is a tiny invertebrate that has no wings, can jump several inches in the air, and is basically no bigger than your thumb. Unless there are several of them, you won’t notice them. Clusters of them all rise upwards at the same time, giving the appearance of a small cloud.
They prefer moist areas, such as moist potting soil. Although springtails can feed on roots, they don’t cause too much damage to plants when they are in the soil. Nevertheless, if the soil dries out, the springtails will look for moisture elsewhere, such as in a basement or bathroom, where they can be very bothersome. Diatomaceous earth or vacuuming can be used to remove them.
Despite their small size (less than 1/25 inch), these insects can cause extensive plant damage. The sucking wasps feed in groups, hitting leaves, flowers, and even fruits. Plant diseases are also spread by them, along with weakening and distorting the growth of plants.
The absence of natural predators inside makes it necessary to use something like neem or insecticidal soap as a contact insecticide. The leaves should be covered on all sides.
When disturbed, the whiteflies tend to flit up in a puff of air from the underside of leaves. They consume the leaves and stems of plants, weakening them and causing distortions and discolorations. In order to effectively eliminate whiteflies, you must catch them early to prevent them from reproducing. Insecticidal soap or horticultural oil can be sprayed on them or yellow sticky traps can be used to catch them. Contact between the spray and the insect is needed for it to be effective.