Pests can pose a problem to any plants, regardless of whether they are indoors or outdoors. Having plants in one’s house has become a rather popular trend over the last few years; however, by bringing plants into your home, you increase the risk of pests also finding their way inside. When pests make their way into your home, they can damage more than just your plants, becoming real hazards. Knowing how to deal with them can do a lot to save your precious plants. Pesticides are often viewed as the best way to deal with the problem, but this is not always the best way.
This article details a number of ways that you can go about ridding your home of the pesky critter, protecting your plants in the process. Some of the pests that venture indoors are pretty annoying and seeing the damage they do to your plants can just make matters worse. Although bringing your plants indoors may seem like an excellent idea to keep them away from these pests, they often still find a way to make it inside. So, here are some of the most common indoor house pests and how you can deal with them.
Mealybugs are part of the same family as scale insects and damage plants by sucking the sap from them. They are relatively large compared to other pests and resemble a white furry woodlouse. They often choose to cluster together, giving off the appearance of cotton wool. If they are left on plants untreated, they can cause the leaves of a plant to become yellow and eventually fall off.
These bugs can often be found on the underside of leaves, as well as in the leaf joints of plants. You can notice the plant looking wilted and dehydrated. This is usually a sign of a mealybug infestation. Also, the leaves tend to fall off pretty quickly, and you’ll notice a honeydew residue on them.
Should you have a mealybug infestation, you may consider the following treatment methods:
- Knocking them off the plant by either shaking the plant, poking them off, or spraying them with water.
- For large infestations, you can follow aphid treatment techniques.
- You can make use of products that contain natural fatty acids or those that have been formulated with a surfactant.
Scale insects can be pretty troublesome to identify and even harder to get rid of. They have a hard brown shell that they use to lock themselves into place, similar to how barnacles do. They are able to camouflage themselves pretty well, and the untrained eye can often think that they are just blemishes on the plant.
If you notice that your plant is covered in honeydew, this is a clear-cut sign of a scale insect infestation. This is especially prevalent if the plant is near a window. Should the plant be near a fabric of some sort, the honeydew eventually turns black, leaving a soot-like mold behind. If you notice any of these, make sure to check the undersides of the plant’s leaves for small round brown discs.
When trying to get rid of these pests, you may have to treat the plant several times in order to get rid of both the insects and their offspring. Their protective shields make them difficult to deal with; however, should you follow these tips, they shouldn’t pose much of a problem,
- Pick or rub the scale insects to kill them.
- Dab them with alcohol to dissolve them.
- The aphid spray method is also an effective way to get rid of these pests.
Spider mites are some of the most feared indoor plant pests, not because they cause extreme damage but rather because they are often quite difficult to get rid of. As their name suggests, they are arachnids and spin webs all over your plats. The problem is that they do not feed on flies but rather the liquids found within a plant. They make use of their webbing to protect their colonies as well as create a road-like system to navigate around the plant quickly. Leaving this problem for too long can result in you having quite a few mites on your hands.
Sticky webbing all over your plant is one of the most obvious signs that you have a spider mite infestation on your hands. Another sign is that the leaves of the plant tend to be covered in tons of small brown dots. This is caused by the mites biting into the plant, causing the cells of the plant to die and turn brown.
You can treat this problem with the following methods:
- Giving your plant a shower every week can wash the mites off of the plant. Make sure to spray the plant with some mist to keep it humid between showers.
- You can also purchase predatory mites to help you with the problem.
- Using products with natural fatty acids or products that have been formulated with surfactants are also good options.
These can be especially annoying as they are like small flies flying around your plant that just do not seem to go away. They often form colonies close to the base of plants. These are the most common house plant pests. Luckily, they do not harm the plant and tend to be more annoying than they are an actual danger to your plant.
You can get rid of them by:
- Picking up anything that falls off the plant and keeping the soil somewhat dry.
- Adding some nematodes to the environment as they are the gnat’s natural predators.
- You can use pesticides such as pyrethroids and pyrethrin.
These are probably the worst houseplant pests that you can find. Thrips can cause severe damage to a plant. If they are not treated, they can kill the plant entirely. Small infestations can take out medium-sized plants, and large ones being able to kill palms before you even know what is going on.
To treat this problem, you should:
- Cut off infected leaves or flowers as soon as possible.
- Apply neem oil or natural pyrethrum several times a week.
- Use tougher pesticides if all else fails.
Indoor plants can be prone to pests just like those found outdoors. With these tips, you can control any pests that find their way into your home.
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