Indoor plants and bugs essentially have two types of relationships. Plants may either repeal bugs or attract them. Houseplant bugs such as ladybugs parasitic wasps are beneficial to plants as they keep pests in check. However, when you grow an indoor garden, these beneficial bugs find it hard getting to your plants. As such, harmful bugs can spread rather quickly. Here are some harmful bugs that can trouble your indoor plants.
Indoor Plants And Bugs That Are Bad
These bugs are a perfect example of bugs that are not particularly harmful but are super annoying. The fungus gnats are tiny black flies that reside in the soil and the potting mix of the plants. They exist due to overwatering. You can rid your potting mix of these pests by simply reducing watering. You can also use Gnatnix to rid your plants of gnats.
The scale is a common bug that affects indoor plants. They are quite difficult to identify since they appear simply as tiny bumps underneath the leaves ad on the stems of plants. These bumps are usually brown, black and grayish in color. They can be rather difficult to control. To control these bugs, you can use pesticides. The organic neem-based pesticide is a good choice. You can also use rubbing alcohol and some cotton pad to wipe the plant several times over the course of a few weeks.
These pests create an unsightly spectacle. They reproduce very rapidly and will soon get everywhere. Their one weakness is cold temperatures. This makes them a problem for plants grown in warm temperatures such as indoor plants. They are usually spread from one plant to another. For this reason, it is important that you carefully inspect any new plant you acquire. They like to fly off when disturbed only to settle back onto the underside of leaves. These plants suck the sap out of the leaves of plants causing them to wilt and yellow. They also stunt the growth of plants. You can control these pests by applying insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. When apply, try not to disturb the plant, as these chemicals are most effective when they cover these tiny bugs.
Aphids cause many problems to plants in general. They are very common and troublesome. Some aphids can fly, while others can. They are teardrop in shape and come in a variety of colors including brown, black, yellow, red, and green. They are found grouped together and also underneath the leaves of plants. They pests will suck the sap out of the plants, stunting growth and causing the, to look unhealthy. When they start to appear, wipe them off with a wet cloth. You can apply some insecticidal soap for best results. If the infestation has progressed, you will need to use insecticidal soap, horticultural oil or hot pepper wax. Just as in the case of the whiteflies ensure these insecticides make direct contact with the pests.
These unsightly house pests are related to spiders thus their name. They create cobwebs all over the plant and appear as tiny speckles on the webs. The presence of spider mites means the plant is not being exposed to enough humidity. If spider mites are disturbing your plants, spray them down with water, clearing the webbings and spider mites. After the plants have dried, smother them with horticultural oils. Reapply the oil every two or so weeks for two more times.
Although there are other harmful indoor pests, these are the most common ones. Despite the pests your plants are facing, a solution is simply a click away. However, prevention is the best policy. Here are some preventive measures to take.
Preventing Indoor Plant Pest Infestations
- Inspect any plant you bring into your home, especially if you already have other plants in your home. Pests often move from one plant to another. As such if a nursery and greenhouse have an infestation problem, the pests may be on any plant acquire from that place. Therefore, you should prudently inspect the plant from head to toe. Make sure to examine the potting mix, the stems and underneath the leaves. This should be done for all new plants.
- Even if there are no pests present, there may be young microscopic pests or even pest eggs you just cannot notice with your bare eyes. For this reason, you should confine new plants to a separate room for a couple of weeks. There you can notice the presence of any pests. You can also place yellow sticky cards above the plant. Many pests are attracted to the yellow color. You should check the card to see if it has trapped any pests.
- Ensure that you do not under water or over water your plants. Both of these conditions can be ideal for some pests.
- If your plants spent some time outside over the summer, be sure to spray the plant from top to bottom with a sharp stream of water from a nozzle that releases a forceful spray of water (https://www.amazon.com/Bullseye-810C-Power-Nozzle/dp/B00144D8CI/). Most of the time, that is all you need rid the plant of pests.
- Vigilance is the best preventive measure you can take. You should keep a close eye on your plants. When you notice pests early, they are very easy to control. If you only notice after an infestation, they are more difficult to control. You should not only watch out for the pests themselves also watch out for honeydew. Honeydew is a sticky shiny substance that many pests produce. They may be present on the plant, or on surfaces beneath the plant. If you notice honeydew, then it is extremely likely that you got pests.
- Grow companion plants. Many herbs such as chives and thyme can repel whiteflies, aphids, spider mites, and so many other harmful bugs. Growing them in close proximity to other plants will help repel the harmful bugs.
Herbs That Can Repel Unwanted Insects
One of the best thing about houseplants is that some can help unwanted insects such as mosquitoes and houseflies.
You can use the basil to make an insecticide spray you keep these mosquitoes and houseflies away. Basil is an annual plant, which is great for seasoning foods. You can also use them to make insect repellent sprays. The recipe is a very simple one. Pour 4 ounces of boiling water onto 4 ounces of clean, 4 oz. fresh basil leaves. Now let the leaves steep for several hours. Remove the leaves making sure you squeeze out all residue liquid from the leaves. Now add 4 oz. of cheap vodka. Voila! You are done. You should store the mix in the fridge. Pour the basil insect repellent into a hand sprayer and repeal insects with it. Do not get the mix into your eyes or nose.
This is effective at repelling flies and the leaves make great culinary ingredients. The fresh leaves go particularly well with soups and roasts.
Chives repel carrot flies, aphids, and Japanese beetles. They, therefore, make excellent companion plants for many plants including carrots, kohlrabi, broccoli, cabbage, potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes. Chives have an oniony flavor and are a good substitute for onions.
The dill plant is an amazing companion plant to have in a vegetable garden since it repels many harmful pests such as aphids, spider mites, squash bugs, tomato hornworms and cabbage loopers.
Fennels will repel aphids, snails, and slugs.
Lavender is ubiquitous when it comes to applying fragrance to the home. Many air fresheners are lavender scented. This is because lavender has a wonder scent that humans love and insects hate. Lavender can repel mosquitoes, flies, fleas and moths. Simply grow them anywhere you want to repel insects. The oils are also extracted and used as body oils. This also repels mosquitoes.
The lemon balm like lemongrass will repel mosquitoes.
Lemongrass has a lemony scent that repels insects. The lemony scent is due to citronella, which is a natural oil present in lemongrass. Apart from repelling mosquitoes, lemongrass goes great with chicken, pork, soups and as salad dressing.
Mint is one of the most grown herbs. This is because it has medicinal benefits and makes great iced tea. It can also be used to make mint candy. The oils in the leaves give this plant its minty flavors. When the oils have been extracted, you can mix it with vodka and apple cider vinegar to make mosquito repellents. In addition, the potted mint plant itself will repel insects.
This popular herb will repel asparagus beetles and is a wonderful plant to have in the kitchen.
This is another herb that repels mosquitoes and other harmful pests. The plant itself is capable of repelling insects. In addition, you can also boil the dried rosemary in water, strain the liquid and use that as an insect repellent spray.
The thyme leaves have many culinary uses. Apart from being a culinary ingredient, the thyme is a great companion plant. The thyme will repel small whites, tomato hornworms, whiteflies, corn earworms, cabbage maggots, cabbage loopers among others.