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Common Houseplant Insects and Related Pests

Having a well-decorated and fully planted backyard comes with great responsibility and a need for constant upkeep. You cannot just get composite cladding done and place plants on top without taking care of them. Taking proper care of plants is essential to keep them healthy and make them last longer. It is not just about the outdoor plants; your indoor plants can also fall prey to pests. A few bugs may not do much harm, but if left untreated, they can cause an awful lot of damage. In this article, we will outline a few common houseplant insects and how you can treat them:

Spider Mites:

Spider mites are the most common insects found on houseplants. They are barely noticeable due to their appearance, and can look more like a speck on leaves rather than insects. Spider mites suck sap from leaves, causing their discoloration and dropping prematurely. Hibiscus and figs are two of their most favorite host plants.

The best way to prevent your plants from being infected by spider mites is to check them regularly. If your plant is already completely infected by it, we recommend you get rid of it immediately to keep the infestation from spreading to other plants. Try washing your plant regularly, because the humidity will save the plants from the infestation of spider mites.

Scales:

These soft-bodied tiny insects are found on the underside of the plant and suck leaf sap. The adult insects protect themselves with a waxy outer covering to keep themselves safe. These insects make the leaves go yellow and drop off, and can also make the stems die. Scales are usually attracted to citrus trees, figs and ivy.

Insecticide soap is found to be very effective in overcoming a scaling attack. You can also easily rub off the insects from the plant top using your fingernail. Moreover, it is better to remove the heavily affected leaves to avoid the rest of the plant succumbing to further infestation. Check your plants regularly and scratch the bugs off if you see any scale signs.

Aphids:

Like scales, they also suck sap from leaves, producing a sticky honeydew. They have a short life cycle which means that they grow very rapidly. They usually target newly growing leaves and branches. They affect different kinds of plants and cause wilting. Neem oil or insecticidal sprays are great for warding off aphids and keeping them from inhibiting your plants. A simple hard water spray will also be helpful if the damage is not too far along.

Mealybugs:

These are also very similar to scales and suck leaf sap, with waxy deposits indicating their presence on plants. Their infestation leads to the yellowing and dying of plants. Female mealybugs produce white cotton-like material where they can lay eggs. A cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol will help in getting rid of these insects. A strong water spray will also be helpful, along with neem oil sprays and insecticidal soaps.

Whiteflies:

These tiny, winged insects are likely to destroy your houseplants without effective deterrents in place. They have a white-powdery appearance, and usually feed from the underside of the plant during the early stages, causing significant damage. The infested leaves first turn yellow and then eventually die. You will need to keep a sharp eye on your plants, as you need to get rid of whiteflies instantly.

Insecticidal soap and neem oil spray will aid the process of plant disinfection. Make sure to do this treatment every week for maximum effectiveness.

Make sure you are providing your  plants with favorable conditions for their growth. Do not place the new plants with older ones, because you never know what kind of soil they have and if they are infected or not. Keep checking your plants regularly to save them from irreversible, permanent damage. 

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