There are many reasons for growing plants indoors. Aside from controlling almost all the variables, the amount of light your plants get from the amount of water they receive, growing indoor plants will also enable you, in most cases, to prevent a multitude of pests and diseases.
Unfortunately, like all plants, there are still some plants that can weaken houseplants. Since the conditions you are providing your plants are probably ideal for their growth, the bad news is that these conditions can be favorable for pests.
The good news is that you can take steps to prevent and eliminate indoor plant pests. Here are some of the most common indoor plant pests – and how you can get rid of them for good.
- 1 Why do indoor plants grow in the first place?
- 2 Most Common Indoor Plant Pests
- 3 How to stop indoor plant pests
Why do indoor plants grow in the first place?
There are many excellent reasons to consider growing plants indoors. For one, you will have more control over all variables.
If you want to grow a tropical houseplant, but live in an inaccessible environment, no worries, it can be done! Conversely, if you want to grow carrots, but live in the tropics, growing them indoors will make it much easier for you to keep them cool.
You can overwinter container plants that grow outside the home, or you can grow plants indoors for up to 100% of your life-cycle. Whatever you have the option to develop, you will have the most flexibility – the sky’s the limit.
In addition to being able to grow many food crops indoors for you to enjoy, keeping plants indoors will provide a positive boost to your mental and physical health. We love to do gardening – and it doesn’t matter whether indoors or out.
However, there are some challenges for which you also have to pay attention. For example, indoor-grown plants may have to adapt to hot air (or cold air from indoor cooling) from low light, low humidity, and indoor heating. This can often make the leaves and flowers of your plants, in particular, more vulnerable to diseases and insect infections.
Most Common Indoor Plant Pests
1. Spider Mites
All types of spider mites are common on indoor plants, but one of the most prevalent is the red spider mite. It is not an insect but an arthropod, closely related to spiders.
You cannot possibly see these pests with the naked eye. However, you will see a red film under the leaves of your plant or some leaf damage or reddish-brown spots.
Spider weevils can be controlled by beneficial pests such as minute pyrite insects. It is also a good idea to keep the air moist as these pests prefer dry conditions.
2. Dirty Worms
Mealy Bugs, or Pseudococcidae, Are also common on indoor plants. Controlling these pests can be somewhat challenging.
They look like soft, cottony white growth on your plants. Like aphids, an insect we will discuss in more detail below, they leave Honeyview. This honeymoon can attract ants, another insect that can spell disaster for your indoor plants.
Therefore, it is important to keep milebugs under control. You can leave beneficial insects like green tape or you can treat your plants by patting the isopropyl alcohol (using Q-tip) on the insects themselves.
3. Fungus Gnats
Fungus gnats are probably the most widespread indoor plant pest. The good news is that they won’t really do much to harm your plants – they will irritate you too much.
These pests look like fruit flies and are often found in moist, fresh soils where nutrient levels are high. They can be controlled by controlling soil moisture or you can use things Bacillus thuringiensis Or fungi gnat predators.
4. Root Aphids
Aphids are small insects, but that doesn’t mean they don’t do their fair share of damage! There are many types of aphids, many of which are plant specific.
Root aphids are some of the most common aphids to infect indoor plants. Common in greenhouses and other controlled settings, these pests are difficult to spot and can easily develop in out-of-control populations.
Instead of seeing the pests, you are more likely to see the white, waxy material that they leave on the plants. It is honeydew, a substance that is also secreted by all other types of aphids.
Easily adaptable, these pests get bored in the roots of the plant and make your plants vulnerable to mildew and other diseases. If the leaves of your plants have wilted, curled or turned yellow, then you will know that this is a root aphid infection. Noticing any disease such as root rot and mildew can also be a sign of aphid infection.
Many growers confused the signs of aphid infection with nutritional deficiencies and incorrectly treated their plants for deficiencies. Make sure you test your soil before adding any nutrients – if levels are appropriate, it may be a root aphid infestation to blame.
To treat root aphids, you may need to use a yellow sticky mesh to positively identify such infections. You can then use a beneficial nematode or you can use a biological insecticide with an entomopathogenic fungus.E beveria basiana. In addition, any plants that are badly infected should be removed.
5. Scale Bugs
Scale insects, also known as the common brown scale, are extremely fond of indoor plants. There are many varieties to see but the most widespread species is a soft brown scale or Coccus hysteripidum. These don’t look like regular insects – they actually look like weird growths on your plants.
However, they are quite dangerous, often found clumping on the stem of a plant, sucking the sap of the plant with its pointed mouthpiece. They are only mobile when they are first born, but once they mature, they can be quite malicious. They will breed rapidly, and you will need to use a pesticide spray to get rid of them.
You can often cut the scales away from the plants or use things like rubbing alcohol to get rid of them. Inspect your plants regularly to make sure that you have not left any scale.
Springtails are commonly found in homes because they are on plants, but if given a chance, they will be happy to feast on your plants. These pests are like moist organic matter and moist soil.
Therefore, getting rid of them to remove any excess moisture often leads to boils. Of course, you’ll still need to water your plants – but do your best to cut further moisture on the water if you can.
There are many products that you can use to get rid of springlets, such as insect pellets and insecticides.
Whiteflies are closely related to scales and aphids. They are often confused for milebugs, but the difference is that they will take flight when disturbed. They can also eat just about any type of indoor plant.
Like aphids and milebugs, they eject honeydew – something that can attract ants and lead to diseases such as soot molds. Multiply whiteflies and they will severely weaken your plants.
The easiest way to get rid of these pests is to give them a harsh blast of water now and later. You can also use beneficial insects such as ladybird beetle or green lacewing. Whitefish are specific insecticides that you can use, too.
8. Leaf Minors
Leaf miners inflict severe, unsightly damage on plants. There are many types but most current problems for your plants.
If you notice yellow, squiggly-looking lines in the leaves of your plants, you will be suspected of infecting the leaf coloration. This is where the larvae of leaf miners have bored their way through the leaves. You may have to use a pesticide, but you will need to spray at the right time. Spraying too early will only kill eggs while spraying too late will kill adults – you need to kill the larva between those two stages.
You can also use neem oil to get rid of betel mines. It will not kill them immediately, but it can do so in a more natural way.
Thrips are not quite common indoors, but there are still pests you should be looking for. Thrips are often introduced to indoor plants from plants that were grown externally and then brought inside. If you have a thrush infection, you are most likely to notice their garbage first – that’s right, their poop!
They will cause your plant leaves to wrinkle and discoloration, and sometimes they can also damage the outer layer of the plant’s leaves.
It is quite easy to get rid of thrips. You can use blue sticky netting or you can introduce thripe predators and minute pirate insects to control the infection in a chemical-free manner.
10. Russet Mites
Russet mitts are translucent, wedge-shaped pests that are often found in groups. Like many other types of pests on this list, they are sapsuckers. They will start by feeding on the lower parts of the leaves and then work their way up to the plant.
These pests can be difficult to identify, as the initial signs of infection present themselves like magnesium or iron deficiency. Therefore, it is important to test your soil. You should inspect your plants regularly and never use clay soil from outside to start your indoor plants, as these often disturb the oatmeal eggs.
You can periodically release spider poachers to keep these pests at bay. Often, adjusting the moisture content and room temperature to a more balanced level (not too hot, not too cold, not too wet, and not too dry) can also help. You can use things like neem oil or canola oil spray to get rid of russet mite.
How to stop indoor plant pests
Indoor plant pests can be annoying and excruciating, to say the very least. The good news is that it is quite easy to keep (and keep) them under control.
For example, always check a plant before purchasing, and especially before bringing it indoors. If you identify insects on the plant while in the store, be sure to notify the owner.
Use clean pottery and clay soil, not soil that you have drawn from the garden. If you notice pests after transplanting your plants or bring them indoors, there are some common catch-all remedies that will work well for most plants. Diatomaceous Earth is one such example.
Of course, it is always a good idea to follow the general gardening guidelines when you are taking care of indoor plants, just as if you were growing them outdoors. Water moderately and do not let your soil get too dry or too much burnt. The same goes for nutrients – balance is the best!
By creating the ideal environment for your plants, you are definitely going to find out that you have some pests that want to hop in for a free meal as well. However, this does not mean that you should let them go.
In keeping their plants healthy, they will be much better at understanding and preventing their own insect infections – and you will be better at destroying and eliminating the pests of these most common indoor plants over time.
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