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When you have a garden, you must concern yourself about weeds and face the pest epidemic. While indoor plants are not such a huge concern with weeds, you can still face those small critters on your houseplants.
This can quickly happen if you leave your potted plants outside to enjoy the fresh air and sun. Unfortunately, it happens, but how can you eliminate bugs on indoor and outdoor plants? The first thing you will need to do is determine what bug problem you have.
Stay tuned, as Plantly will help you figure it out.
Plant First Aid When You See This Bug
Excellent; as mentioned, you first need to determine what pests you have on your indoor plants. Once you know what bug problem you have, you have different solutions to remove them to get the zen back to your indoor garden.
These plant bugs have a small pear-shaped body, and you see them in your vegetable crops. Still, aphids can find their way indoors as well. The insect pests love to cluster around your plant’s flower buds and new leaves.
The little critters enjoy sucking the sap from foliage and excrete a honeydew substance.
The plant pests you can spot with a pale-green color and easily mistaken for new leaves. As infestation spreads, the leaves start to droop. To get rid of bugs like aphids, you need to wipe them off with a damp rag, or you will need to spray them off with water.
Alternatively, you can dislodge them using rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab.
You can also spray them with insecticidal soap or use neem oil. The important thing is to keep doing this weekly until the bugs are gone.
Fungus gnats are flies that look like fruit flies but have dark bodies and are small. The flies lay eggs in moist soil and feed on decaying plant matter. When in the larva stage, they start feeding on the plant roots.
Once the plant bugs become flies, they become a nuisance around the room where your plant stands.
The best way to get rid of bugs like fungus gnats is to leave the soil dry out completely between watering. Furthermore, water from the saucer and remove the water after about an hour. Finally, you can spray the soil using insecticidal soap when you spot them moving up from the soil.
Alternatively, the other best way to remove them is to replant your plant in fresh potting soil.
Mealybug Plant Pests
Mealybugs are as small as dill seeds that look as if it is covered in flour. The eggs look like tiny cotton on the leaves and stems.
These are other common houseplant pests that suck out the nutrients of the foliage, leaving a honeydew substance that can attract black fungus.
The best way to get rid of these bugs is to dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol or vegetable oil to remove the eggs and bugs from the plant.
Another sap-sucking bug you can see on your plant is scale insects appearing in brown oval bumps on the foliage. There are times these insects look like plant tissues. Scale bugs you can scrape off the leaves and stems.
As with the most common houseplant pests, you use a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol or neem oil to remove them. Unfortunately, the eggs you cannot see, and the best is to observe your plant for a few weeks to remove the bugs you see.
You can also use insecticidal soap for several weeks until the infested plant is clear.
Spider mites have a red color invisible to the eye, but the telltale signs are webs found between the foliage. The insects feed on plant juices, and infected leaves will display tiny dots in a yellow color that turns dry looking limp.
The best is to isolate your plant to remove it from other plants to prevent the spread of these spider mites. Next, place your plant in the bath or outside and spray it with water to remove the bugs and webbing. Then remove the rest of the insects using a cloth.
You might need to repeat this process for a few weeks to ensure your plant is clean from the spider mites.
Springtails are jumping insects that result from overwatering. The plant pests inhabit moist soil feeding on decaying plant matter. The insect does not harm your plant but becomes a nuisance as the infestation spreads.
The best treatment method for infected plants is to leave the soil dry between watering. It helps to water from a saucer and remove your plant after an hour. Remove dead plant material from the soil surface.
You may think the name whiteflies look like a file, but it looks more like tiny moths. You see them hanging on the underside of foliage and flying when you touch them or water plants. These are sap-sucking plant pests in the nymph stage.
When they lay eggs on the underside of the leaves, they turn into adults, and the leaves become yellow with stunted growth. As with other houseplants, isolate your plant and remove the infected leaves.
Then spray your plant with water before you use insecticidal soap. You will need to repeat the treatment for a few weeks.
How to Get Rid of Bugs on Indoor Plants
When you notice any of these pests on your plant, there are a few things you first need to do:
Isolate Your Plants
Immediately, place your houseplants infected with pests in isolation to prevent the infestation spread to other plants. We recommend you monitor the surroundings for several weeks to see if your other indoor plants have signs of bugs on them.
Clean The Surrounding Area
As some bugs can spread from one plant to another, they can hide along the way. The best is to clean the spot where your plant stands with soapy water. Alternatively, you can sterilize the area using rubbing alcohol.
Wash The Plants Foliage
Wash your infested plant leaves using a mild liquid soap or insecticidal soap. The soap helps to kill bugs on contact. Still, be careful with the soap type, as some contain degreasers that harm sensitive plants.
The best is to do a spot test on the plant before you wash the leaves.
Clean The Pot
Another essential thing is to clean the plant pot and saucer underneath with soapy water. These pests can hide under the rims and in the catch tray underneath.
Removing The Bugs
You can dab the insects with a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol to remove them from your plant. Then treat your plant using neem oil for long-term effects and controlling insects. The oil is a natural insecticide you can use on indoor plants.
To learn how to use neem oil, check out the tutorial here. Another alternative is to use hot pepper spray or horticultural oil.
How to Prevent Bugs in Houseplants
Once you remove the bugs from your plant, you do not want them to return. So, for long-term defense, it helps to do some preventative pest control.
Never Reuse Dirty Pots
If plant diseases are present or there is a pest infestation, never reuse the pot. The first thing to do is to clean the container with soapy water. Depending on the container, you can place it in a dishwasher.
Keep an Eye on Your Plants
Constantly monitor your plant and other houseplants, whether it is plant infections or pests. You can do this every time you water your plants.
Repotting Causes Stress
While your plants are infested with bugs, do not repot your plant to remove the problem. The problem is that it can stress out your plant. The best is to first street the problem to help with plant growth before you repot your plant.
Also, when repotting your plants, use sterile potting soil and never use garden soil. You can reuse the soil in a new pot if your plant has no bugs. But never reuse soil from one plant to pot another plant.
Inspect New Plants
Before placing your plant indoors, inspect your plant health for insects and diseases when you bring home new plants. Also, keep your new plant isolated for a couple of weeks to ensure it has no bugs.
Keep Tools Clean
Before using your pruning shears, sterilize them and other tools every time. You can use rubbing alcohol between uses or wash them with soapy water. Also, wash your hands after you care for infected or infested plants.
You can do a few things to keep your plants bug-free or treat them if you notice any insects. Still, if you decide to place your plants outside for some sunny weather, then be sure to debug them before taking them back indoors.
Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!