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Common Pests of Household Plants

Common Pests of Household Plants

Aphids

Aphids

Aphids are a sap sucking pest with a 2-3 week long life cycle. Due to the short life cycle, the populations can increase rapidly. Aphids can attack a variety of different plants. They like tender, new growth where they cause distortion and wilting.

How to control Aphids

A hard spray of water will dislodge most aphids. If it is not too cold, you can take your plant outside and spray it off with a hose or use your your shower sprayer indoors. sprayer. You can also use neem oil or insecticidal soap.

Mealybugs

Mealybugs

Mealybugs are soft-bodied, oval-shaped insects that can be easily confused for dust. They love to feed on your plants juices. You will find them in small groups on the undersides of leaves, around new growth, and in tiny nooks between the leaves and stems.

How to control Mealybugs

Mealybugs are one of the most persistent pests. They can spread quickly, so they can be difficult to get under control. You can start by dipping a cotton swab in alcohol and dabbing each mealybug you see.

Next treat the plant with a neem oil solution. Dilute 1 teaspoon of neem oil and ½ teaspoon of dish soap with 1 quart of water. Shake it up in a spray bottle and apply it to the plant thoroughly, particularly the undersides of the leaves. Mealybug eggs are resilient, so if the infestation persists a week later, repeat this routine.

Common Brown Scale

Common Brown Scale

Scales are soft-bodied insects that suck plant sap. While they can be found on a wide variety of plants, they are particularly fond of ivy, figs, and citrus trees. These pests are tiny crawlers when they are still immature and can move a little as they feed. When they become adults, they cover themselves in a waxy, protective coating and stay in one spot. Scales are most likely to be found on the underside of leaves and on stems, but can occasionally appear on the upper leaf surface as well.

A scale infestation may cause leaves to turn yellow or drop off or stems to die back. The bugs also produce a sweet sticky substance called honeydew that they leave on your plant. Honeydew can attract ants, plus a black fungus called sooty mold often develops on the plants.

How to control Brown Scale

Due to the waxy protective covering of the adult bugs, you will have to gently scrape them off your plant. You may have to completely remove older parts of your plant that are heavily infested. In order to control the younger moving scales, you can use insecticidal soap or neem oil. Check your plant regularly and scratch off any scales you see until the infestation is gone.

Fungus gnats

Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnat are often more of a nuisance than a pest, but you should worry about their larvae. Immature fungus gnat larvae can feed on plant roots and can cause growth problems, especially on young plants. Overwatering is one of the most common reasons you will see an infestation.

How to control fungus gnats

It is a good idea to let the top inch or two of soil to dry between waterings. Do not allow any water to stand in your drainage saucers. You can use a hydrogen peroxide and water solution or insecticide to help kill the larvae. Yellow sticky traps can help capture adults.

Red Spider Mites

Red Spider Mites

Spider mites are nearly invisible to the naked eye. You will often need a magnifying lens to spot them. You may also notice a reddish film across the bottom of the leaves or some webbing. Spider mites can cause leaves to brown.

How to control red spider mites

You can treat a plant with a spider mite infestation by spraying an alcohol solution on the troubled areas. Insecticides and neem oil also work well. If you prefer a more natural method, you could use a natural predator such as ladybugs.

Common Whitefly

Common Whitefly

Whiteflies are tiny, winged pests that are powdery white in color. An infestation can cause plant leaves to turn yellow and even die. The immature stage doesn't move much and can even be confused for scale. Adult whiteflies will flutter about when disturbed. Both stages will suck the life out of your plant. The immature stage usually causes the most damage because they can go unnoticed while feeding from the underside of leaves.

How to Control Whiteflies

You will most likely need to treat your plant weekly with nn insecticidal soap or neem oil until you no longer see adult whiteflies. You should be sure to apply to the underside of the leaves.