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Beat the Bugs: How to Overcome Common Houseplant Pests

Posted on February 28 2021

Beat the Bugs: How to Overcome Common Houseplant Pests

Houseplants are a beautiful addition to any home, but they can attract pests that damage and weaken them. This post will cover three of the most common houseplant pests - fungus gnats, brown scale, and spider mites - and how to deal with them.

Introduction You finally got your dream houseplants, but now you have a bigger problem - pests. Don't let them ruin your green oasis! Here are some tips to beat the most common houseplant pests.

Fungus Gnats: The Most Annoying Houseplant Pest Fungus gnats are airborne bugs that feed on the fungus that is found in moist soil. Although adult fungus gnats are harmless to your plants, their larvae can damage your plant's feeder roots. The solution is to place yellow sticky traps in your home and allow your plants to dry out more thoroughly before their next watering. No moisture, no fungus, no food, no larvae!

Brown Scale: The Sedentary Killers Scale bugs are brown-colored and look like a plastic dewdrop on your plant's leaves and stems. Their shiny appearance results from their waxy, scaly armor, which protects them from many common pest-treatments. These bugs pose a danger because they suck the sap from your plant's leaves, stunting their growth and making your plant weak. The solution is to:

  1. Cover your plant's soil with plastic or a towel.
  2. Thoroughly spray the foliage with insecticidal soap.
  3. Rub off each scale you find with your fingernail or a firm toothbrush. Make sure to investigate every part of the plant to ensure there aren't any hiding.
  4. Use a heavy stream of water to spray your plant down, removing all the soap.

You must continue checking your plant for more scales. If you notice one or two and don't have time to repeat the above steps, dab them with a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol, wait a few minutes, and then wipe them away with a soft cloth or your fingernail.

Spider Mites: The Tiny Terrors Spider mites are practically invisible to the naked human eye. They feed on your plant's pigment and live on the underside of leaves and plant stems. The tell-tale sign of spider mites is delicate webbing with little white, red, or dark suspended polka dots. If you have a severe infestation, whole leaves will start to turn yellow, your plant's health will decline, and leaves will start dropping one-by-one. The solution is to:

  1. Spray down the foliage of your plant.
  2. Wipe the fronts and backs of leaves thoroughly with a soft cloth.
  3. Place it (in quarantine) near a humidifier.

Spider mites thrive in dry conditions. Maintaining humidity after treatment is essential. If your spider mites are persistent, repeat the process and use insecticidal soap.

Prevention Tips Prevention is the best way to avoid a pest infestation. Here are some tips:

  1. Inspect new plants before bringing them indoors.
  2. Keep plants away from each other.
  3. Avoid overwatering.

Link to Further Resources For more information on each pest and treatment options, check out these resources:

  1. University of California Integrated Pest Management: Houseplant Problems: Insects and Related Pests
  2. Epic Gardening: How to Get Rid of Houseplant Pests: Types, Identification, and Tips

Conclusion Take action today to protect your houseplants and keep them healthy and beautiful for years to come! Remember to inspect new plants, keep plants away from each other, avoid overwatering, and follow the tips provided for each pest. By doing so, you'll be able to prevent and deal with houseplant pests effectively.

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