5 Common Houseplant Pests to Watch Out For

 

household pests
Scales

Whether you grow a simple basil plant or fuss over a fiddle leaf fig, indoor plants take some upkeep. They need the right amount of sunlight, just enough water to keep their leaves hydrated, and they need to stay protected to avoid an insect problem.

Even though these plants reside in the home, they’re still exposed to all kinds of household pests that are attracted to organic matter. Indoor plants that thrive in high humidity or like a lot of water, such as ferns and calatheas, are prone to attracting bugs more than other plants. To prevent pests from damaging plants indoors, it’s especially important to learn how to identify them before you take action. Here are our top five insect offenders to be alert for:

 

  • Scales: Scales are one of the most notoriously troublesome pests for household plants. They suck the sap from plants, which takes away essential nutrients, and leave a sticky residue called honeydew, which often attracts ants. The scale insect is small, oval, and flat, with a waxy brown shell-like covering that resembles its namesake. Scales are most likely found on the underside of leaves and on stems, but they can be found on the upper leaf surface as well. If your plant has scales and has attracted ants, check out our blog for ant identification and prevention tips.
    household pests
    Spider mites

     

  • Spider mites: While not a true insect (they’re arachnids like spiders), spider mites can definitely do some damage. At first glance, they look like dark specks on a leaf — incredibly small, oval, and reddish-brown in color. They live in colonies on the underside of leaves and feed off plants by piercing leaf tissue and sucking up the fluids, depriving the plant of nutrients. While it might be difficult to notice these tiny pests, their silky webs along stems and veins are a more visible indicator of their presence.

    household pests
    Whiteflies

 

  • Whiteflies: Whiteflies are tiny, winged insects you might mistake for a gnat. Despite their name, whiteflies are not a type of fly, but they are white. They often congregate on the underside of leaves, and if disturbed, they’ll scatter, making them easier to spot. Like spider mites, whiteflies suck up a plant’s fluid, and like scales, they leave honeydew in their wake.

 

  • Aphids: Aphids are probably the most known houseplant pest. They have very small, pear-shaped bodies that can appear white, black, brown, grey, yellow, light green, or even pink! They tend to cluster on new plant growth and the undersides of leaves to suck plant juices, and they exude sticky honeydew, which attracts other pests and is an ideal environment for mold.

    household pests
    Aphids

 

  • Mealybugs: Mealybugs are related to scales, as they are small sapsuckers with a waxy coating that leave honeydew as they feed. These insects can move from plant to plant if they are near each other, and they are more easily recognizable with their soft, cottony white appearance. Signs of their presence include waxy deposits on the plant, black mold growing on the honeydew they’ve produced, and yellowing or dying leaves. 

 

One of the best ways to prevent these pests is to inspect your plants thoroughly before bringing them indoors for colder months. Otherwise, you could be bringing a pest infestation right into your home!

household pests
Mealybugs

If you spot any of these pests in or around your indoor plants, there are a variety of remedies you can try. Spray less-delicate plants with a hose in short strong bursts to remove aphids and other pests as much as possible, before you repot the plant with new soil. Scrape off any scales and brush away mealybugs with a rubbing alcohol-soaked cotton swab. If those measures don’t work, research more options for your specific plant and the pests damaging it. Common indoor plant pest protection methods include the use of neem oil or mixtures of substances like dish soap and vinegar, sprayed on the plants regularly.

While the insects that infest houseplants are unlikely to bother your family, you can connect with us if you need a trustworthy pest control company. Request a quote or call 855-855-4873 and one of our pest control professionals will work with you to address your needs.

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