10 Houseplant Pests and How to Stop Them From Killing Your Plants

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Most people think that pests only affect outdoor plants, but this assumption is wrong. Many houseplant pests exist and they will probably find your plants at some point.

An infestation is easiest to manage if you catch it early, which is why you need to know the signs of a problem ripening and what to do if your plants end up with one of these harmful pests. Do it.

Plus, we’ll help you avoid getting infected in the first place. Ready to learn more?

10 Common Houseplant Pests

Dealing with houseplant pests is never a fun problem, but the good thing is that you can easily control most of these pests with a few good growing techniques or insecticides.

1. Aphids

Aphids infest almost every plant, and houseplants are no exception.

These insects are small, soft bodied insects that can be white, brown, black, orange, yellow, green or pink in color. Which makes them a little difficult to identify. These pests prefer to feed on new growth and feed on soft stems, branches and leaves.

One of the worst parts of aphids is that they like to suck the juices out of your plants, leaving behind a sticky residue called honeydew that attracts ants and sooty mold.

Take a look at our guide to dealing with aphids on plants to learn how to identify and eliminate them.

2. Common Brown Scale

A variety of scales exist in the insect world, but the one most frequently visited by houseplants is the soft brown scale (coccus hesperidum) they are a bit difficult to identify because they are so small; They only measure 3-4 mm long. Also, despite their name, they are not always brown; They can also be yellow, amber, or olive.

Common brown scales are so called because they have a scale-like appearance with a waxy covering. They like to cling to the stems, sucking the sap from the plant. They almost appear as a growth on the plant rather than a pest.

One of the problems with common brown scales is that the warm temperatures indoors allow them to breed year-round. Therefore, it is easy to end up with a huge population that will continue to spread to all your houseplants.

The good news is that these pests are only mobile when they are young, so some houseplant lovers prefer to leave infected plants alone to get rid of these pests.

Like aphids, these bugs secrete honeydew that attracts sooty mold, so you need to address an infestation.

To control them, move your plant outside to a shady spot if the weather isn’t too hot or cold. Outside of these insects, there are many natural predators. Then, spray with insecticidal soap made for houseplants.

3. Fungus Gnats

fungus gnats (orphalia And bradysia species) are super annoying, but they aren’t too problematic for houseplants. They usually appear when you water your plants because fungus gnats breed in moist soil. They feed on the roots of plants, but they do not usually kill them.

They look like juvenile little mosquitoes, although they do not bite. While they don’t fly away, they will buzz around the plant if you disturb the soil (for example, when you water).

If you want to get rid of fungus gnats, make sure you allow the soil to dry completely between waterings and avoid overwatering. Sticky fly traps are effective, or make a solution with one part hydrogen peroxide to four parts water and spray plants and soil.

4. Leafminers

Leafminers are the larvae of many different insects such as moths, flies, beetles and sawflies. What they have in common is that the larvae feed on the leaf tissue of plants by chewing through entire tunnels. If you see curved, discolored marks or spots within the leaves, you may have leafminers.

The good news is that leafminers rarely cause serious damage, but you shouldn’t leave them on your plants. Remove leaves that have leafminer damage. Insecticidal sprays containing spinosad work well for controlling these pests, but make sure the spray is approved for indoor use.

5. Mealybugs

Sometimes, people assume that their plants are dusty when they are actually mealybugs. These are oval-shaped, soft-bodied insects that look like pieces of white dry lint. They prefer to live in colonies on the undersides of leaves and in the small nooks between leaves and stems.

One of the biggest problems with mealybugs is that they suck the sap from your plants.

Mealybugs are hard to deal with because they spread quickly. Neem oil often takes care of their population, but you may need to spray more than once to eliminate all pests. You can also put rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab and swipe it to kill the bugs.

6. Root Ball Pest

If you move your houseplants outside in the summer, their root balls can become infested with pillbugs, millipedes, and slugs. These pests feed on the root systems, which can cause serious problems because the roots are responsible for absorbing nutrients and water to your plant.

If you suspect that your plants have root ball pests, take the plant out of the container and gently remove them by hand through the roots. Sometimes, these pests cause an infestation of ants in the potting soil; Ant colonies can be killed by drenching the soil with products containing permethrin.

You can simply wash the soil and plant it in fresh soil.

Finally, if those steps don’t work, pour an insecticidal soil treatment through the soil in the container.

7. Spider Mites

Spider mites are not fun and are worryingly common. Unfortunately, these pests often go unnoticed because they are so small, and people believe that the webs they see are spider mites rather than spider mites.

Spider mites spin tiny webs around your plants and lay tiny eggs on the web and on the soil. If you look closely at the plants, you will see what looks like tiny dust on a spider web; They are mites.

These pests feed on the undersides of the leaves of plants, and they thrive in hot, dry conditions. For example, you’re more likely to see them in a plant near a heating duct than near a cold window. Typically, the first sign of a spider mite infestation is plant damage such as light-colored spots on the surface of leaves.

Neem oil or insecticidal soap are great options for treating spider mites, but you may need to apply several times to control the infestation.

8. Springtails

These pests (suborder Collembola) are not as common as some others, but they are a pest you should know. Springtails are small, wingless insects about 1/5 inch long in a variety of colors that live in soil. Despite being wingless, they keep jumping from place to place.

If you end up with springtails on your houseplants, it usually means you are overwatering them. They like to feed on decaying organic matter, and they will eat through the stems of your houseplants, but the damage is often minimal unless they attack in large numbers.

To get rid of them, allow the soil to dry thoroughly before watering again.

9. Thrips

One of the most common houseplant pests is thrips (Order Thysanoptera), sometimes called thunderflies. Thrips are small, slender, insects that cause serious damage to your plants.

Thrips infestation begins with discolored or mottled leaves, and you may see these pests crawling and flying around your plants. They suck the sap from leaves, stems, flowers and buds, leaving behind droplets of excrement that look like black spots.

If you think you have a thrips infestation, check out our guide to dealing with thrips in the garden.

10. White Fly

Despite the name, white flies are not actually flies; They are closely related to mealybugs and aphids. They are white and small in appearance, measuring only 1/10 inch in length. White flies look like small white moths.

They suck the sap from your plants, causing the leaves to turn yellow and drop from the plant.

We have a complete guide to help you deal with white flies in the garden, but you can use many similar strategies indoors. Just make sure if you use insecticides or other sprays that they are approved for indoor use.

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