Pest Control for your Houseplants

If you own houseplants, you will eventually run into pests. I keep around 200-300 houseplants in my own home, and I'm always treating for some sort of bug at any given time. It comes with the territory.

 

 

Mealybugs 

 

If you see little fuzzy insects stuck to your foliage, it's probably mealybugs. They are sticky to the touch. They're annoying, but they are treatable. I recommend to treat it several ways simultaneously.

  • Wash them off in the shower or with a hose. Physically removing them from the foliage is the most important thing you can do. If some seem cemented on, don't worry, use the insecticidal cocktail spray below and it should take care of the stubborn ones.
  • Spray the foliage with an insecticidal cocktail spray. In a spray bottle, mix the following ingredients:
    • 2 drops neem oil
    • 1/2 tablespoon isopropyl alcohol
    • 1 drop dish soap
    • 1 cup water
Thoroughly spray the foliage daily for 3 days, then you can spray it bi-weekly for a month or so. 
  • Use a systemic insecticide. Dressing the top of your soil with a granular systemic insecticide containing the ingredient imidacloprid is very effective at controlling mealybugs. Do not use on plants you plan on ingesting.

Fungus Gnats

Does a swarm of small flies fly out of the soil when you water your plant? You probably have fungus gnats.

They thrive and lay eggs in damp soil, so the easiest and most effective way to eradicate them is to let the soil dry out between watering. This isn't always possible with some plants that need constant moisture, but for most houseplants, they can stand to thoroughly dry out a time or two. If this isn't an option, water the plant with a 50/50 solution of 3% hydrogen peroxide and water. Do this once a week for 2 or 3 weeks, or until you notice the gnats are gone.

 

  • Use a systemic insecticide. Dressing the top of your soil with a granular systemic insecticide containing the ingredient imidacloprid is very effective at controlling mealybugs. Do not use on plants you plan on ingesting.

 

SPIDER MITES

How to Get Rid of Spider Mites | Planet Natural

If you see webbing covering your foliage, there's a high chance you may have spider mites. Unfortunately, a systemic insecticide is ineffective against them. The key to treating spider mites is consistency.

  • Spray the foliage with an insecticidal cocktail spray. In a spray bottle, mix the following ingredients:
    • 2 drops neem oil
    • 1/2 tablespoon peroxide
    • 1 drop dish soap
    • 1 cup water

Spray the leaves, then wipe them down with a cloth or a paint brush. You must do this every 2-4 days for at least 2 weeks. 

 

Helpful Products Links for Pest Control: