What Can I Do About Houseplant Pests?
During the height of Covid, many of us found ourselves craving some greenery and nature in general so we turned to houseplants. While we do our best to put our green thumb to the test, pesky pests will still find their way in and make themselves at home. We will be covering some of the most common houseplant pests and what you can do to get rid of them.
What are some common houseplant pests?
Typically found in the garden, Aphids like to cluster around new leaves and flower buds. They munch on the sap of the plant and excrete a substance called honeydew.
Resembling fruit flies, Fungus Gnats lay eggs on the top layers of soil and feed on decaying plant matter. As larvae, they will feed on the roots of the plants but once grown, they become harmless to the plant.
About the size of dill seeds, Mealybugs look like they are covered in flour and their eggs look like tufts of cotton which are usually laid on leaves and stems.
These are tricky pests because they look as though they are a part of the plant itself. Scale will appear as tan or brown oval bumps on the leaves or stem of the plant.
Notice little webs between your leaves and stems? This is a sign of spider mites. They are nearly invisible to the naked eye but their webs are a strong indicator they’re around. These pests like to feast on the sap of the plants which can lead to leaves showing tiny dots of yellow or becoming dry and limp.
If you see little insects hopping around, it could be a sign of overwatering your plants. Springtails find comfort within the soil and feed on decaying plant matter. They don’t hurt the plant or people but in large quantities, they can become a nuisance. To avoid Springtails, let the top two inches of soil dry out completely between waterings. You will want to stay watering from the bottom saucer and clean off any dead plant material from the soil surface.
While not as common as the other pests mentioned, Thrips can quickly spread if you’re not careful. You can tell you have them from a silvery discoloration on your plant leaf.
Even though they are called whiteflies, these pests look more like tiny white moths. You’ll find them on the underside of leaves and they’ll fly out if you touch the leaf or water the plant. These pests suck on the sap of the plant in their nymph stage then lay more eggs on the underside of the plant. Plants infected with these pests typically turn yellow or stunted.
How do I get rid of houseplant pests?
- Prevention is as key as it is with any pests. Before you take the plant home, inspect it to see if there are any pests hanging out around the leaves, flowers or in the soil.
- Many infestations can be controlled by taking the plants to the tub and wiping them down thoroughly or using a botanical soap.
- Repotting plants with fresh soil and a clean pot will also get rid of any remaining pests if cleaning the plants off doesn’t do the trick.
- Isolate your plants for a few days or weeks to be extra cautious until you know for sure they are cleared of pests.
Read more about common pests: What types of Wisconsin pests can harm your pets?
Need extra assistance with your household pests?
K&C Pest Control can help you out! We work together to get rid of the pesky pests in your home and find solutions to keep them out. Contact us today to get started!