It may be difficult to get rid of bugs in houseplants. Aphids, spider mites, thrips, and mealybugs can seem to appear from nowhere. They reappear just when you think you’ve got them under control for good. When you first notice signs of a houseplant bug or pest problem, you must act quickly. These pests may literally suck the life out of your indoor flora.
The best treatments to get rid of bugs in houseplants are Insecticidal soap kills plant pests on contact, whereas neem oil has natural pesticidal properties. Diatomaceous earth (DE) is non-toxic, although it kills bugs. Make sure that the conditions for houseplants are ideal, in addition to these natural pest remedies. Change the soil if necessary.
The soil may harbour common houseplant pests that cling to stems, hide beneath leaves, or migrate from plant to plant. Spider mites, aphids, scale insects, and mealybugs are the most damaging plant pests because they suck on plant juices. The pests’ eggs and larvae may eventually kill your plant if you don’t get rid of them. You’ll discover how to eliminate insects from houseplants in this article. You’ll also learn how to use natural pest control remedies to identify certain plant pests so that you can treat them.
Overview of Common Houseplant Pests
Mites, flies, beetles, and other sap-sucking bugs are common houseplant pests. Indoor plants can be quickly infested with these crawling or flying pests. They might fly around your plant, cling to stems, and never move at all. You may detect them emerging from the ground.
Many insects on plants do a lot of harm, apart from the nuisance factor. After all, who wants flies in their house? Pest infestations cause the following symptoms on yellow leaves: weak growth, leaf drop, and wilting stems.
Fortunately, houseplants can be grown without the presence of insects. Without filling your house with harmful chemicals, some natural remedies for plant bugs may work. To eliminate bugs on indoor plants, all you need is patience, persistence, and care.
Why Do Indoor Plants Get Bugs?
So, you may be curious as to how houseplants got bugs in the first place. Appearing from thin air appears to be possible with whitefly, aphids, fungus gnats, and mealybugs. Bugging indoors, on the other hand, can be more challenging than bugging outdoors. Insects on indoor plants can be due to a variety of factors:
Soil—Soil from gardens may introduce a variety of insects into your house. Microbial eggs or larvae could get into your plant pots via the soil. Always purchase a reliable garden shop’s sterile commercial potting soil.
Lack of predators—Throughout the home, there are normally no predators that eat insects or kill them.
Growing environment—Houseplant bugs may thrive in an environment with poor light, low or high humidity, and temperature. Humid environments are less common in dry areas, and homes have less humidity than outdoors.
Damp soil—Fungus gnats may reproduce quickly and become quite active if there is too much moisture in potted plants.
Bringing plants inside from outdoors—In the summer, many plants thrived outdoors, but in the winter, they needed to be indoors. Unfortunately, you might allow unknown guests to come in.
Stressed plants—Plant pests are more likely to attack plants that grow in poor lighting, lack of water, or insufficient fertilizer.
How to Identify Common Indoor Plant Pests (With Pictures)
Understanding what kinds of pests affect your indoor plant is critical for eradicating bugs from house plants. While many home remedies for eradicating houseplant pests are effective, obtaining the proper growing conditions for houseplants is important in successful treatment. To know how to get rid of common houseplant insects, let’s take a look at some ways to identify them.
Small white flies on houseplant leaves—These little white flies suck on the sap of plants, and this is a sign of whitefly. Plant leaves turn yellow and die over time. Home remedy for these pests: Yellow sticky cards and Neem oil spray
The little whitefly is a common houseplant pest that typically resides beneath the leaves. A whitefly larva-eater is shown in the top picture.
Tiny spiders or spider webs on indoor plants—Spider mites may be detected by noting excellent webbing beneath leaves. The spider webs are the best way to identify these tiny spiders since they are difficult to see. Home remedy for these houseplant bugs: Use insecticidal soap and neem oil.
Spider mites on a lemon tree in the left picture. (Enlarged picture of the red spider mite)
White fluff like cotton wool on houseplant stems and leaf joints—On stems, mealybugs appear as little white flecks or mildew. These houseplant bugs will devour your plant if you don’t put an end to them quickly. Home remedy to get rid of these bugs in houseplants: To eliminate the little white critters, use rubbing alcohol.
On plants, mealybugs look like tiny white fluffy bugs.
Tiny bugs in houseplant soil—Fungus gnats deposit their eggs, which eventually turn into tiny black flies, in the soil. These tiny flying insects are similar to fruit flies. Home remedy for flying fungus gnats: Bacillus thuringiensis var. is a solution that can be used. To eliminate gnat eggs and larvae, the soil is treated with bacteria from Israelensis (bacteria as a biological control).
Fungus gnats, also known as soil gnats, are little black housplant pests that feed on fungus.
Clusters of red, brown, yellow or green bugs on indoor plants—Aphids are common houseplant pests that may also be known as greenflies or blackflies. They slowly kill your houseplants by feeding on their juice. If you have an aphid problem, you may even see a sticky substance on the stems. Home remedy for the bugs on plants: Inoculative soap or neem oil can be used to wash your plants.
Aphids are tiny green creatures that may be red, yellow, black, or white in color.
Small, slender yellow, black, or brown insects with pointed tails—The Thurps are tiny, long-legged flies that crawl and fly. Your houseplant will develop brown leaves that fall off if you don’t eliminate these indoor plant pests fast. Ingestible insecticidal soap or neem oil solution.
Several species of thrips (top photos) are black or brown. Leaf with thrips (left) is shown in lower image. Thrips damage to the coffee tree (right).
Brown bumps on stems—These appear to be pieces of plant development, but they are scale insects, not easy bumpy growth. The life of your plants is gradually sucked away by these brown insects that cling to parts of the leaves. Home remedy for scale: To eliminate these insects from houseplants, apply rubbing alcohol with a cotton bud.
Scale insects clustering on a stem in the left image. White waxy scales on a cycad leaf are shown in the picture.
How to Get Rid of Bugs in Houseplants
Before applying natural home remedies, there are a few steps you can take to get rid of bugs on indoor plants. The following are the stages:
- Is your plant infested with a bug, mite, pest, or fly? Determine what type of bug it is.
- To avoid the infestation, isolate the plant from your other houseplants.
- Determine how far the infestation has spread.
- After you believe all the insects have been eliminated, proceed with the home remedies for houseplant bugs.
- Always sterilize equipment and new pots when repotting a houseplant or pruning off diseased leaves.
For bugs on indoor plants, here are some home remedies:
How to Kill Bugs on Indoor Plant Leaves
The underside of leaves, stems, and flower buds are where the majority of houseplants’ bugs reside.
Insecticidal soap—To wash plant leaves and stems, use organic insecticidal soap. Alternatively, you might use a home remedy to eliminate insects from houseplant leaves. What you should do is as follows:
- Add 1 tsp. of sugar to the mixture. In 33 fl. oz., there is a mild organic liquid soap. In a spray bottle, mix 1 oz. (30 ml) of warm water.
- To mix, shake vigorously.
- Apply the soap remedy to the diseased areas of the plant.
- To get rid of dead insects, wipe the leaves.
Neem oil solution—Many varieties of pests on indoor plant leaves are killed by an organic neem oil home remedy. Spider mites, aphids, thrips, mealybugs, whiteflies, and fungus gnats can all be treated with neem oil. This is how to make a neem oil bug-buster at home:
- Mix 1.5 teaspoons of the stuff together. 1 tsp. of organic neem oil 33 fl. oz. of mild liquid soap Warm water (1 l)
- Mix thoroughly before putting in a spray bottle.
- Spray all sections of the afflicted plant with your houseplant home remedy bug spray.
- Use it once a week to get rid of pests, and twice a month to keep them at bay.
Rubbing alcohol—Rubbing alcohol is a safe remedy for common household insects. Use the cotton bud to apply the alcohol directly to the insects. On contact, the alcohol will kill the bugs.
How to Get Rid of Bugs or Insects in Houseplant Soil
Moisture is the most prevalent cause of potting soil bugs. Sitting in waterlogged, soggy soil is not ideal for common houseplants. Various types of bugs, such as fungus gnats, are drawn to the dampness, which causes root rot and weak plant growth.
Only water houseplants when the top 1″ or 2″ (2.5–5 cm) of soil is dry, as a general rule. until water runs out of the bottom and thoroughly water the roots. Finally, make sure your potted plant never stands in a puddle of water. If termites have infected your potting soil, what should you do?
Repot your plant—Next, replace the potting soil with fresh soil by removing it. What you should do is as follows:
- Remove the plant from its container with care.
- Remove all the soil from the roots and put it in a plastic bag.
- Root rot may be detected by checking for indications, and diseased or dead roots may be pruned as needed.
- Make sure to sterilize your current pot if you are repotting.
- Fill half of the pot with fresh potting soil and place your plant in.
- Fill in the remaining area with soil, making sure that the plant is growing at the same level as it was previously.
Neem oil soil drench—It is possible to kill any insects that live in plant pot soil by drenching the soil with neem oil. Fungal infections may be prevented from infecting your plant by using this neem oil solution. To exterminate pests in plant soil, use neem oil this way:
- Mix 1 tbsp. neem oil, 1 tsp. mild liquid soap, and one-quart (1 l) of warm water.
- Pour the solution through the soil and let it drain out the bottom.
- Use to eliminate little white insects in the soil once a month.
Food grade Diatomaceous earth (DE)—Non-toxic white powder is produced naturally. When the outer layer of certain insects is destroyed by diatomaceous earth, it is abrasive and kills them. To help control houseplant pests, sprinkle dry soil around your plant. After watering your plants, you’ll need to sprinkle diatomaceous earth again because it needs to be dry.
How to Get Rid of Flying Pests from Houseplants
It’s more difficult to get rid of flies, aphids, and other flying insects. The little white, black, or green flies tend to fly away as soon as the plant is disturbed. As a result, you’ll need to take care of your houseplant twice.
- Step one—Apply weekly neem oil to eliminate any eggs or larvae in the soil.
- Step two—Yellow sticky traps can be used to reduce fly populations.
Why Use Natural Pesticides to Get Rid of Houseplant Bugs?
It is always best to use natural products to kill bugs on houseplants, even if it appears a quicker solution to use chemical pesticides to get rid of them. Everyone living in the house may be harmed by synthetic pesticides. Many indoor plant pests develop pesticide resistance as well.
How to Prevent Houseplant Pests
It’s best to avoid any infestations in the first place because getting rid of bugs in houseplants is so difficult. How can you keep indoor plants from being eaten by bugs? Here are a few options to consider.
- Before bringing new plants into your home, always check for signs of pests or bugs. For a few weeks, keep new plants safe from other houseplants by isolating them.
- For proof of insects, check your monitor frequently. The quicker you detect an infestation, the less difficult it will be to fix.
- Always sterilize your pruning shears or planting pots.
- If you bring them back indoors after the summer, thoroughly inspect the houseplant for bugs.
How to Keep Houseplant Bugs Away for Good
You never want insects to comeback when you finally exterminate them using home remedies on indoor plants. As a result, in order to keep bugs, mites, parasites, and flies at bay from your precious houseplants, constant vigilance is required. Healthy plants are pest resistant and resistant to disease. Try to avoid putting pressure on plants. Some of the following might be true:
- If your plant prefers moderate, indirect light, low lighting is required.
- Dry air and insufficient humidity
- Your plant isn’t getting enough food.
- Overwatering or watering too frequently causes root rot and fungus infections.
FAQ: Getting Rid of Common Houseplant Pests
If your houseplants are infested with bugs, here are some additional answers to other concerns you may have:
Why do indoor plants attract gnats and other bugs?
Plant pests, such as roaches and gnats, are drawn to your home’s growing conditions. Houseplant pests thrive in humid or dry conditions caused by high soil moisture levels, little air circulation, or high or low humidity. Houseplants that are healthy and robust are often resistant to pest invasions and diseases.
What should I spray on houseplants to kill bugs?
Insecticidal soap or neem oil solutions are the best natural bug sprays for indoor plants. Test any natural remedy on one plant leaf before applying it to make sure there are no harmful side effects.
Will soapy water damage houseplants?
Houseplants should be unaffected by soapy water. Bugs in houseplants can be killed by washing infected leaves and stems in a mild liquid soap solution. Yet, since soap has no residual impact, you will need to wash plants frequently to eliminate pests entirely.
Are bugs in houseplants or potting soil normal?
It is not normal to get pests in indoor plants, even though it is common. Even the most experienced plant owner will suffer a bug infestation from time to time.