We all love plants and the natural feeling they bring to our homes. Unfortunately, one of the components of the natural world is insects and bugs. Plant pests are part and parcel of keeping plants indoors at home. They are annoying and unsightly, but they are simply part of the deal when caring for plants.
Have no fear, however. Here at Bloombox Club, we can show you how to identify plant insects and plant pests, and how to get rid of them. The first step is to plant pests identification so that you can know what is the difference between a bug/fly/bee and a plant pest.
When wondering how pests affect plants, the answer is gradual. A few pests won’t do any harm to a healthy plant. However, they can multiply and create a situation that can compromise the health of your plant. So, it is best to neutralize the threat. We will run through the most common indoor plant pests and tell you how to deal with them.
You might have heard of these house plant pests before. They are what’s known as sap-sucking pests. This means that the product of their pesty feeding is a sweet, honeydew-like substance. This is a sticky substance that is harmless. They have a rather short lifespan, though this means that they can multiply rapidly.
A simple spritz of water should be able to dislodge the Aphids. Finding a powerful mister/sprayer that won’t damage your plant but can ensure that they fall off the plant is a great idea. If this doesn’t fully get rid of the problem, most varieties of insecticidal spray or neem oil can help to purge them.
These pests are so tiny you might not notice them at first. As spiders do, they create silken webs that might be easier to spot. These mites suck sap from leaves and can cause them to discolour and prevent growth, eventually leading to death. Dracaneus, fruit plants, and hibiscus are among their favourites.
These mites are more tricky to deal with as they are more resilient and create more stable homes for themselves. If the plant is overrun with them, it might be best to throw it out before the spread to others. If not, you can manually squish them, or wash leaves with soapy water to get rid of them.
Mealy Bugs are small and white pests that create a bit of a mess. They have a waxy coating and produce dew that can live in deposits on your plant. This can result in a black mould that can discolour and eventually kill leaves.
The best way to deal with the removal of Mealy Bugs is to get a cloth or cotton wool with some rubbing alcohol on it. Next, get a strong-misted water spray and spray the plant until all the bugs come off. If some still remain you can use an insecticide spray or neem oil to get the last remaining bugs off.
Scales are incredibly flat pests that you might not even think are plant insects. They look more like brown discolouration but they are actually living things. Adults cover themselves in waxy protection and remain stationary, contributing to the difficulty in identifying them. They also produce a sweet, sticky sap that can attract other common insects.
These pests are non-poisonous so you can just scrape them off individually. Before doing so you can spray with insecticide or neem oil to see what damage that can do. A combination of both these methods would do the trick.
These are almost more of a nuisance and aesthetic gripe than a pest. However, we’ll discuss them as house plant pests because some people might see them as such. They feed on plant roots and can cause issues with plant growth. Fungus Nats are often seen as a symptom of overwatering.
Put down sticky moth/fly traps around the plant and that should attract most of them. If you add a lot of biological insecticides to the soil this should have a preventative effect on these indoor plant pests.
These pale white bugs suck up plant sap with great intent. Unusually, the younger flies do the most damage, feeding from the underside of the leaves. They can do serious damage and often lead to death and severe damage of the plant area.
Insecticide or Neem oil should do the trick. Be sure to wipe both sides of the leaf/stem to ensure you get them all!
We hope you’ve learned a bit from our list on how to identify and get rid of common house plant pests. An infestation is not likely when you follow these steps and do not panic. Essentially, if you have some non-toxic insecticide and neem oil around with a strong mister you should be golden!