Most homeowners prefer growing indoor plants because they require less attention, as opposed to outdoor plants. Although there are many benefits to indoor plants, some bugs can still be a problem.
Plants Indoors Attract Bugs?
Indoor plants do attract bugs. Most often, they are attracted to growing conditions in which there is either a lack of air circulation or high humidity. There are a wide range of pests that attack crops, from aphids to spider mites to fungus gnats to mealybugs to scale and whiteflies.
The best way to avoid infestations is to maintain good growing conditions, water your plants correctly, and inspect them regularly, ensuring the treatment is done without delay, reducing damage to your plants.
It’s possible you have some bugs and are looking for answers on how to fix them if you are reading this. It’s your lucky day! Keep reading to find out more about when you may have bugs, as well as how to identify, eradicate and prevent them. I’ll also tell you which houseplants are most resistant to bugs.
A Growing Condition That Attracts Houseplant Pests
The main reason why bugs have problems indoors is because of the growing conditions, especially humid, wet conditions.
Indoor Plants Can be Attracted to Pests by High Humidity.
It is not unusual for insects to flock to areas with high humidity for one reason or another. Since they are small in size, their bodies must be kept moist or else they will dry out and die, so they go to areas where moisture levels are higher.
High levels of humidity are usually caused by:
- Climate: Areas closer to large bodies of water or places with more precipitation have a higher relative humidity level than desert areas such as Arizona, New Mexico, and the Intermountain West. Because of this natural moisture boost, the humidity level inside your home stays higher.
- Overwatering: Regardless of your climate, providing your plants with too much water or watering them too often is a leading cause of excess humidity in the immediate vicinity of your indoor plants. As moisture evaporates from the soil surface of over-watered, soggy soils, relative humidity levels raise around the plants.
- Standing water: This is a result of overwatering, but more so from the amount of water the plant gets each time. Having saucers beneath your containers to catch any water that drains out can make it difficult to water too much at any one time.
Poor Air Circulation
Keeping humidity levels down, and also keeping bugs at bay is important, so be sure to have good air movement around your plants. Increasing ventilation will increase soil drying and inhibit fungal growth, making your indoor plants a less hospitable place for insects to live.
- No space: Plants that are too close together have poor air circulation through the foliage. Even though grouping your plants is a good way to increase humidity, avoid touching them since this will decrease ventilation around the foliage.
- Air movement: Some areas of your home may not be in close proximity to windows, doors, or vents, or receive the gentle air movement created by ceiling fans or passersby. Leave a window open while you are working on your plants, or you may wish to use an oscillating fan.
Common Indoor Plant Bugs
Compared to ornamentals and garden plants outside, indoor plants have a much narrower range of insects. Bugs found in houseplants include aphids, spider mites, fungus gnats, mealybugs, scale, whiteflies, and thrips, less than a dozen are common problems.
Aphids eat and destroy house plants, causing considerable damage over time due to their sap-sucking nature. On the leaves and stems are sticky honeydew, which can be found on the leaves and stems. When houseplants are attacked by aphids their leaves become distorted and yellowed, leading to leaf drop.
They reproduce prolifically and can quickly become abundant, which is one of the biggest challenges for these pests.
Because spider mites are so small, it can be difficult to see them. These tiny bugs that come in a variety of colors and sizes are usually less than 1mm wide and are strongly attached to the leaves of your plants.
In order to get at the fluid within the leaves of houseplants, spider mites will pierce the leaves. Stippled leaf discoloration or yellowing generally occurs when plants are attacked by spider mites. Detecting a problem is based on the fine webbing they produce, but you will need to examine your plants carefully to do so.
The spider mite reproduces rapidly and can develop into a large population before it is noticed. Owners of houseplants usually detect these bugs when they see physical changes in their plants.
Although fungus gnats are generally small, they can do a great deal of damage to your plants, and their presence around your home or windows can be an annoyance.
However, the immature larvae, which grow in the soil and feed on the roots, can cause serious damage to plants. In their larval stage, the gnats can be found feeding on dead plant matter or on fungi naturally found in the soil. The immature gnats can seriously damage plants by damaging their roots or spreading pathogens throughout the soil.
Fungus gnats are easily found in your houseplants, in the form of very small, dark colored flies that buzz around them.
Mealybugs have a soft body and have a white, satin-like covering that covers their bodies. They protect themselves from drying out in low humidity and excessive heat by their white, cottony coating, but it is easy to spot on your indoor plants.
Mealybugs prefer plants that have leaves attached to the stems since the leaves offer little protection.
Mealybug infestations can result in deformed or stunted leaf growth, especially on new leaves, because of the destruction caused by them feeding on the foliage. In addition to producing honeydew, Mealybugs also cause that your plant will develop sooty mold.
You can find scale on a wide variety of house plants, as well as other shade and fruit trees. Soft scale and armored scale are the two scale insects that attack houseplants and look alike, although soft scale is more prevalent.
In contrast to hard scales, soft scales are covered with a waxy, powdery, cottony coating, which protects them. Armored scales are protected against predators and chemical insecticides by a hard shield of dead skin and wax.
As a result of this the plant can develop symptoms of damage due to the piercing of the foliage, stems and branches by scale insects which feed on the sap within these tissues.
An infestation of scale insects on your houseplants causes leaf drop and leaf yellowing. The leaves will also become yellow, show signs of stunted growth, and generally show diminished vigor. To tell the difference between the two types of scales, look for honeydew secretions; soft scales secrete a large amount of honeydew, while armored scales do not.
Thrips are minuscule, fringed wing insects that rarely measure more than 1/16 of an inch. Plants can also be damaged by thrips showing splotchy patches on leaves which become pale over time, then turn silvery and die. Plant viruses can also be spread by the thrips.
Often mistaken for tiny white moths or mealybugs, whitefly is closely related to scale and aphids. Insects are usually pale in color, almost translucent, and covered in a powdery, waxy substance.
Infestations are able to cause stunting, yellowing leaves, and leaf drops when the host plant is disturbed. Since both nymphs and adults are sap-suckers and exude honeydew, they are hard to treat.
The Worst and Best Plants For Bugs
Some plants repel insects more naturally, while other species have a predisposition to do so.
Indoor Plants That Are Pest Resistant
Insect-repelling plants usually have scented leaves or waxy cuticles that stop insects from penetrating the leaves.
- Snake plant
- Chinese Evergreen
- Cast Iron Plant
- Grape Ivy
- Mosquito Plant
- Jade Plant
- Venus Flytrap
- Herbs (basil, chives, chamomile, lavender, and mint)
The Worst Indoor Plants For Bugs
Species that like high humidity or water do better in your house and are more prone to bugs than an indoor plant like the ones mentioned above.
Bugs that like high humidity:
- Peace Lily
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