Help! There Are Pests On My Houseplants!

by Plant Care, Plants

THERE IS NOTHING MORE HEARTBREAKING THAN DISCOVERING SOMETHING HAS MOVED IN AND INTENDS TO TURN YOUR PLANT INTO DINNER. IF YOU’VE EVER WONDERED, “HOW CAN YOU BATTLE PESTS ON MY HOUSEPLANTS?” THEN THIS IS FOR YOU!

 

At first, you might not notice something flying or crawling around the base of your plants. Perhaps it starts small: A web here, a sticky residue there. But don’t lose hope! If you catch it in time, you can help defend your greenery and prevent them from becoming a salad for your tiny invaders.
 
If you have any tried and true tips or tricks that you have used to help with pests in your plants, I would love to hear about them.
 
For now, let’s get back to those pesky pests! The most common pests found on houseplants are fungus gnats, mealybugs, and mites.

FUNGUS GNATS

Fungus gnats are small black flies. You will usually find them running around the soil surface or on leaves. Symptoms and damage from these pesky pests will be wilting, poor growth and yellowing leaves. The damage created on your lovely plants is caused by larvae feeding on roots and leaves in contact with the soil. These little guys love when you overwater your plants, as it creates the perfect environment for the larvae.
 
To control fungus gnats, reduce the water given to each plant. In so doing, you will avoid algae growth on the soil. Insecticides can be brought in if issues continue after a couple of weeks of adjusting watering practices.
Gnat. Pests on my houseplants.
mealybugs

MEALYBUGS

Don’t let the name fool you. They are not the type of guests you want over for a meal! These pesky pests are white, almost “cotton-like” masses. You’ll find them hiding in the leaf axils on the lower surfaces of the leaves and the roots. Infested plants become stunted and severe infestations can cause plants to die.
 
You can begin to control these pests by running a steady stream of water on the lower leaves and the soil. This will flush the water through the bottom and help drown those space invaders! If unsuccessful, you can use a safe insecticide and follow the instructions on the bottle.

MITES

Small but mighty! Mites, specifically the two-spotted spider mite (just got a little eerier, didn’t it!), are tiny pests that can be unnoticed until plants become incredibly damaged. The evidence they leave behind are yellowing leaves, specked leaves (i.e., the speckles on leaves may be dark brownish to black circles – these are the places where the mites feed), webbing (i.e., just like spider webs), loss of leaves and this damage could ultimately lead to plant death if mites increase.
 
A few highly effective yet easy things can be done to control a mites infestation. These practices include pruning the affected/infested leaves, stems and other areas. Discard the materials pruned by securely bagging them and throwing them away in the trash. Insecticides/insecticidal soaps can also be used in areas with larger infestations.
mite on plant

DIY TIP! MAKE YOUR OWN INSECTICIDAL SOAP BY COMBINING 5 DROPS OF SUNLIGHT DISH SOAP FOR EVERY 2 CUPS OF WATER.

These uninvited guests may be pesky, but hopefully, with some knowledge, you will successfully maintain healthy and long-lasting houseplants.
 
Now you have an extra reason to get close to those houseplants. So next time you talk it up with Francisco the Fern or Phoebe the Philodendron, look to see if you can spot any creepy crawlies!
 
Keep in mind that although you may not be able to see them, they may still be there. If you notice Sebastian the Sansevieria with yellow tips, he’s not sporting a new style to impress the other plants. He’s letting you know, Houston, you have a problem!

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