Being plant parents demands that you should constantly pay attention to their needs and eliminate every threat to their good health. Alarming threats to plants are insects and bugs that mostly feed off from them while causing them harm. Whether you're just starting as a new gardener or you've been around for a while, it's always important to be conscious of insect & bug infestations on your plants and how to keep them away.
In this post, we will list out three common insects and bugs that commonly infest plants, and generally tip to get rid of them without harming your plants.
3 Common Houseplant Insects & Bugs, and How to Get Rid of Them
A commonly known plant pests are Aphids. They are tiny, sap-sucking insects that love to attach themselves to houseplants, doing immense damage to them over time.
They feed on houseplants by sucking the nutrient-rich sap from the leaves/flowers, which causes stunted growth and deformed leaves/flowers. Left unchecked, aphids can do a lot of harm to your plant, resulting in its death over time.
Getting Rid Of Aphids:
- Remove aphids by hand by spraying water or prying them into a bucket of soapy water;
- Spray the whole plant with organic sprays like neem oil, or essential oils;
- Introduce aphids' natural predators like ladybugs, green lacewings, and birds.
Mealybugs are soft, cotton-like insects that are wingless and commonly found in warm environments, especially indoors, on houseplants.
Mealybugs feed on unsuspecting houseplants by sucking their juices. This weakens the plant and causes its leaves to turn yellow, wilt and drop.
Getting Rid Of Mealybugs:
- Suffocate the mealybugs by spraying dish soap diluted in water down your plant;
- Spray the whole plant with Isopropyl Alcohol;
- If they persist the above solutions, consider introducing mealybugs’ predatory insects, such as lace bugs, lacewings, parasitic wasps (Leptomastix dactylopii), and mealybug destroyer (Cryptolaemus montrouieri).
Scale insects are small insects that usually appear in clusters. Whenever they prey on a plant, gardeners may notice the appearance of sooty mold on the plant.
Scale insects feed by sucking sap from outdoor plants through their piercing-sucking mouthparts. This may cause yellowing or wilting of leaves, stunting or deformed state of the plant, and eventually death of all or part of the plant when left unchecked.
Getting Rid Of Scale:
- Using a cotton swab dipped in alcohol, rub off as many scales as you can from the plant;
- Spray the infested plant with horticultural oil;
- If some scale insects remain, pry them off using your fingernail.
One quality of a good gardener is 'punctuality'. Ensure to always control pests off your plant as soon as you notice them - don't wait till it's too late to protect your plant.