Many homeowners keep houseplants to decorate their living spaces as well but just like with any plant outdoors a plant kept inside is susceptible to infestation. The average house plant when not maintained properly can become a host to a variety of bugs and other pests like aphids, spider mites, or even fungus gnats. If left unchecked your home could potentially become a breeding ground for pests. So in this article, we’ll guide you on how to get rid of bugs from your houseplants
easily and quickly.
3 Easy steps to get rid of bugs in houseplants
1. Inspection & identifying your pest
The first thing you should do in any pest control plan is identifying what exactly you’re dealing with. Careless identification can lead to wrong treatment methods costing you time and money.
Before you start any treatment or cleaning process you need to identify what pest you and your plants are dealing with. It’s important to know what you’re going to be fighting as soon as possible because not every product or method will work on each pest.
If you’re dealing with an active infestation you’ll need to examine your plants as you conduct your inspections.
Look for common signs of infestation like yellowing leaves, chewed leaves, warps, puckered or pinched leaves or webbing draped along the undersides of leaves.
Some pests may require a magnifying glass to see but that’s not always necessary. The naked eye may be enough to identify many pests.
Here are some common houseplant infesting pests and their appearances:
Aphids: Aphids are small growing to be about a quarter of an inch and they come in many different colors from bright green to dark black. They typically latch onto the stems of flowers or other plants to feed.
Mealybugs: Mealybugs grow up to one-fifth of an inch in length have a spiny alveolar shape and cover themselves with a white cotton-like substance.
Fungus gnats: Fungus gnats are tiny flies growing only up to 1/8 of an inch in length. They have dark brown or black bodies and they can be seen flying around the site of infestation.
Spider mites: Spider mites are incredibly tiny arachnids that may require some magnification to fully see, but you can still make out the specs that are their bodies and skin casings. Look for webbing draped throughout the plant then inspect the webbing for any mites or shed skin.
Springtails: springtails are common house infesting insects that are often confused for fleas. To tell them apart springtails can be white brown or black in color and springtails also have antennae, whereas fleas do not.
2. Selecting product & conducting treatment to get rid of bugs
Now that you know what you’re dealing with you need to pick the right product that’s labeled to treat that pest. To treat pests that commonly infest house plants we recommend you use a pesticide that contains one of the following active ingredients: pyrethrins or bifenthrin.
These particular ingredients are great because they can be used to treat a wide variety of pests and can be applied to ornamental houseplants safely.
For a product containing pyrethrins, we recommend Pyrid aerosol. Pyrid is a powerful botanical insecticide made with pyrethrins and PBO and can be sprayed around your house plants to treat infesting pests and rid of bugs.
To use pyrid hold the can about 18 inches away from your target and spray. Allow the product to fall onto the pests and spray for no longer than 10 seconds.
Before application, you may want to move your house plant outside or away from surfaces where food is prepared or eaten. Pyrid works fast quickly knocking down pests on contact and killing within minutes
Pyrid is able to treat gnats, mites, flies, moths, and many other insects that can invade homes. So it’s a great tool to have on hand.
For a product containing bifenthrin, we recommend Reclaim I/T. Reclaim I/T is a liquid insecticide concentrate that’s labeled to treat over 70 insect pests including aphids, beetles, fungus gnats, mealybugs, spider mites, and whiteflies.
Reclaim I/T must be mixed with water before application. We recommend you use a one-gallon or one and a half gallon hand pump sprayer since you’ll be making very localized treatments.
To treat most plant infesting pests mix 0.5 fluid ounces of reclaim I/T with one gallon of water. If you’re dealing with a heavy infestation you may use one whole fluid ounce.
To use a hand pump sprayer open the sprayer add half a gallon of water and add your measured amount of reclaim I/T. Add the remaining half a gallon, close the sprayer and shake to ensure even distribution.
Pump your sprayer a few times to produce a low-pressure spray. Treat your house plants with a full coverage foliar spray. Spray until leaves are thoroughly coated and be careful not to over-apply to the point where the product drips off.
Before application, you’ll want to move your plant outdoors to avoid getting any product on sensitive surfaces. Reclaimed I/T leaves a residual that will last up to 90 days under normal conditions
Affected pests will begin to die one hour after being treated.
3. Additional tips to prevent reinfestation
Prevention is essential to keeping pests in check. Even after you’ve applied pesticides the best way to stop pest activity is to make sure it can’t happen. Use these tips to get rid of bugs in houseplants and stay free of pests.
Water your plants properly and use just the right amount of water your plant needs. Overwatering and poor drainage can cause the plant’s roots to rot encouraging fungus gnat activity.
Keep your plants clean. Pick up fallen leaves or other organic matter that may be resting on the soil surface. Occasionally wipe leaves with a damp cloth.
Regularly prune and trim your plant as it gets older. Always inspect plants for pests before bringing them inside. Remove any that you find and keep your new plants isolated for at least one week in case an infestation breaks out.
Pests that target houseplants may be able to kill entire plants but there are ways to control a pest infestation that’s gone out of hand. With these professional tips, you can stop pests from infesting your property. If you like this how-to guide please share. Happy Gardening!