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Most of us enjoy having plants in our homes, but sometimes we're faced with a pesky problem: pests!
If you're finding bugs on your indoor plants, don't worry – we've got some practical tips to help get rid of them! Please keep reading for information on identifying different types of bugs and how to get rid of them using natural remedies or pesticides.
You'll be able to keep those plants looking healthy and bug-free in no time!
- So, What Pests are Visiting your Plants?
- 7 Common Bugs on Indoor Plants
- How to Identify Problems with Indoor Plants
- How to Get Rid of Bugs on Indoor Plants
- Best ways to prevent houseplant pest infestation
- Final Thoughts:
So, What Pests are Visiting your Plants?
Ready to find out which insects are visiting your plants? 🔎🕵️♀️
Aphids, whiteflies, and thrips can all harm your plants. If you see any of these pests on your plants, you will want to get rid of them right away. This is important because the pests can hurt your plants and make them die. You also don't want the pests to spread to other plants in your home.
Once you've identified the pest, you can use effective methods to get rid of it and prevent future infestations by using natural remedies or pesticides if necessary. However, some pesticides are very toxic to you, your pets and your plant!
7 Common Bugs on Indoor Plants
Aphids are tiny, soft-bodied insects, usually green, black, grey or orange.
Aphids are wingless at birth, but if you spot one with wings, it's a sign that the colony has gotten too crowded and they're seeking another home, and they can increase their numbers quickly.
They tend to congregate on the new growth at the tips of stems or under leaves and can be seen crawling around and clustered together, sucking sap from plant cells, but they are not fussy and will attack any part of the plant, with the flower buds and shoot tips their preferred area.
They typically feed by piercing plant tissue with their needle-like mouthparts and sucking the sap; this can cause discolouration, distortion and curling of leaves, and stunted growth in severe infestations. They also excrete a sticky substance called honeydew which attracts ants.
The best way to get rid of aphids naturally is to spray them off with a shower hose either in your bathroom or outside when it is warmer, and you can also use Neem oil or insecticidal soap sprayed directly onto the insects.
These measures may take a couple of goes to get good results, depending on how bad the infestation is and how many plants are affected.
2. Spider Mites
Spider mites are another wingless-type of bug that can infest indoor plants quickly and ruthlessly. They are tiny, red or yellow spiders that spin webs on the undersides of leaves.
They feed by sucking sap from plant cells, which causes leaves to turn yellow and eventually die. If you suspect you have spider mites, you can take a close look at the webs they spin for confirmation – if you see small dots moving around on the webbing, those are likely spider mites.
Spider mites prefer dry conditions, so I try to keep my humidifier on when we have the central heating on during the wintertime. My Dieffenbachia has a little outbreak of Spider Mites, and we are having success with regular showering and higher humidity, which she likes naturally.
To get rid of spider mites naturally, use a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol (50/50 mix), sprayed directly onto the insects. You can also use horticultural oil or insecticidal soap spray. I wrote this more in depth article about how to get rid of spider mites that you might find helpful
3. Scale Insects
The first time I had scale was on an umbrella tree (Schefflera arboricola), and it had these brown patches along the stem and under the leaves and boy, they were sticky and stuck on.
Scale insects are sap-feeding creatures that attach themselves to the stems and leaves of plants, often in large numbers. They can be identified by their waxy, shell-like covers, which resemble small bumps or growths on the plant.
Scale insects can cause damage to plants by sucking sap from the tissues, which can lead to stunted growth and even death. To eliminate scale insects naturally, use water and isopropyl alcohol (90%) mixture sprayed directly onto the insects. You can also use horticultural oil or insecticidal soap spray.
Thrips are tiny, slender insects found in many colours. They feed by sucking juices from plant cells, which causes leaves to become discoloured or distorted and stunted growth in severe infestations.
To get rid of thrips naturally, use neem oil mixed with Castille soap and water (recipe below), sprayed directly onto the insects.
Whiteflies are small, white flying insects that suck sap from plants, causing leaves to turn yellow and eventually die. They can be found congregating on the undersides of leaves and are most easily detected when they fly up in a cloud as you disturb the plant.
To get rid of whiteflies naturally, use a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol (50/50 mix) sprayed directly onto the insects. You can also use horticultural oil or insecticidal soap spray.
Mealybugs are small, soft-bodied insects that congregate on the stems and leaves of plants. They often appear as white cottony patches or dots on plant tissue.
They feed by sucking sap from plant cells, causing stunted growth and leaf drop in severe infestations.
7. Fungus Gnats
Fungus gnats are small black flies that typically congregate on the stems and leaves of plants. They can be identified by their long legs, wings and antennae.
They feed by sucking sap from plant cells, which causes yellowing or stunted growth in severe infestations. Although they aren't s damaging as the others on this list, they still aren't welcome guests and should be removed from your plants.
To get rid of fungus gnats, naturally use neem oil or insecticidal soap spray made from Castile soaps mixed with water (around one teaspoon per gallon), sprayed directly onto the insects.
How to Identify Problems with Indoor Plants
When it comes to keeping indoor plants healthy, one of the essential things is identifying any problems early on. Some common signs that your plant may be having trouble include:
- wilting or drooping leaves – this can indicate a lack of water or too much sunlight
- yellowing or browning leaves – this could mean your plant has been overwatered, under-watered, exposed to too much heat/cold or not getting enough nutrients
- stunted growth – the plant may be suffering from root rot, which is caused by excess moisture in the soil that
Unusual growths or bumps on the leaves or stems could indicate an insect infestation such as aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies, and fungus gnats.
If you notice any of these signs, it's crucial to take action right away to prevent the problem from getting worse. Stay vigilant and keep a close eye on your plants – that's the best way to ensure they stay healthy and happy! By identifying and treating the issue early on, you'll help your plant recover quickly.
It's important to note that it can take several weeks for the symptoms of plant stressors to appear, so be sure to keep an eye on how your plants look and feels each day.
How to Get Rid of Bugs on Indoor Plants
Many people think that the only way to get rid of tiny bugs like aphids and mites is to use harsh chemicals, but this isn't always necessary. Several natural remedies can be effective in controlling these pests.
- Neem Oil
- Organic Castille Soap
- Horticultural Spray
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Beneficial Insects – Ladybird Larvae
One of the simplest ways to get rid of aphids and mites is to spray them with a strong stream of water from your shower attachment or if you have a hose on your kitchen tap.
Home Made Neem Oil Spray Recipe:
Be sure to spray the leaves both top and bottom, plus stems as well as the insects themselves. This will help eliminate the insects on contact, so you might need to reapply this solution a few times to get rid of all the pests.
Another option is to release beneficial insects into your urban gardens, such as ladybugs or lacewings. These insects will eat the aphids and mites, helping control their populations.
Finally, you can use a ready-made insecticidal soap spray that kills insects by disrupting their outer layer, causing them to dehydrate. One such product is called Horticultural Spray, which can be bought from most garden centres.
These products are safe for use around children and pets. However, they can still kill beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewing larvae, so make sure you have a gap between using either method so that you don't inadvertently kill your good bugs.
Whichever method you choose to get rid of bugs on your indoor plants, it's important to stay vigilant and keep an eye on your plants so that you can address any new problems as they arise. By following these simple tips, you'll be able to save your plants healthy and bug-free!
Best ways to prevent houseplant pest infestation
The best way to avoid insect infestations is by preventing them from happening in the first place. Here are some tips for how you can do this:
- keep your plants clean and dust-free – this will reduce the likelihood of pests being attracted to them by keeping the plant healthy, and having enough light for photosynthesis.
- Water your plants correctly and avoid over or under watering them – this will help keep the soil healthy, making it less hospitable for pests. Too much moisture in the soil can lead to root rot and fungal growth, which will attract pests like aphids and fungus gnats.
- inspect your plants regularly for any signs of pests or damage and take action immediately; some insects are difficult to see, so investing in a good magnifying glass will be worthwhile.
- use organic gardening methods as much as possible – using chemical pesticides can kill off beneficial insects that eat aphids and mites, making your plants more vulnerable
- Use the proper fertilising regime for your plants to keep them healthy and strong to resist the attack of pests.
By following these tips, you can help reduce the chances of your houseplants' being infested with bugs. Stay vigilant and check your plants regularly for any signs of stress or insect activity, and take action right away if you do find anything. By identifying and treating the issue early on, you'll help your plant recover quickly.
Q: Why is it important to clean your indoor plants frequently?
A: You need to keep your plants clean so that they can absorb as much light as possible. Dirt and dust can stop plants from getting enough light. Dust can also make plants sick, and pests might be attracted to the plant if stressed.
Q: How do you get bugs in the first place?
A: Pests can be brought into your home by coming in off the breeze; it could also be a signal from an already stressed plant, or even just as simple as you not cleaning your plant regularly.
So, whether your plants are being plagued by aphids, spider mites, whiteflies or mealybugs, we hope you'll find the information you need to get rid of them here.
Stay tuned for more helpful tips on keeping your indoor garden healthy and pest-free – and don't forget to share this post with your friends who also love plants!
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