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houseplants pests : DEALING WITH COMMON PESTS

houseplants pests

houseplants pests : DEALING WITH COMMON PESTS




They may be small but, given the chance, many pests can quickly ruin your precious houseplants.

By checking regularly for pests, you can take action to remove them before they infest your plants, which will make control more difficult.

KEEP UNWELCOME VISITORS AT BAY (houseplants pests)

Plant pests can enter your home on new houseplants that you have bought in, so when buying, always check for them on the leaves, stems, and flowers, and look for insects crawling on the soil.

Open windows and doors also offer pests a route inside, but by giving your plants a health check every week, you should be able to keep most under control by simply picking them off.

A few, such as spider mite, are difficult to see with the naked eye, so look outfor the tell-tale symptoms and take the necessary action to keep your plants free of pests.

DEALING WITH COMMON houseplants pests

APHIDS

THE PROBLEM

These common sapsucking insects can grow up to 1⁄4in (7mm) long.

They cause distorted or curled leaves, stunted flower buds, and poor overall growth.

Aphids also excrete a sticky honeydew, which can lead to the growth of sooty molds.

THE SOLUTION

Look for aphids on flower buds, on stems (below), and under the leaves.

To remove them, wear plastic gloves and gently squeeze them, then wipe them off.

For larger infestations, try a dilute soap based solution or pesticide.

THRIPS

THE PROBLEM

These minute, winged, sap-sucking insects are only 1⁄16in (2mm) long and difficult to see unless they are flying around.

Their nymphs (juveniles) are wingless.

Damage results in dull green leaves with a silvery discoloration and tiny black dots on the upper surfaces.

They also cause distorted shoots and flower buds, while the flowers may have white markings and lose their color, or the buds may fail to open.

THE SOLUTION

Use sticky traps to help to ensnare these tiny insects. Pesticides that control thrips are also available.

EARWIGS

THE PROBLEM These nocturnal brown insects are up to 1⁄2in (15mm) long, and have distinctive pincers on their rear ends.

They eat flowers and leaves, reducing the latter to a skeleton of veins.

While they are not a common houseplant pest, they may attack some of the flowering types.

THE SOLUTION

Inspect your plants at night and remove any insects you find.

Also check inside ornamental containers or pots nearby, where they may be hiding during the day.

STEM AND BULB NEMATODES

THE PROBLEM

Nematodes are not visible to the naked eye, yet they can cause severe damage, feeding on the plant’s fluids and leading to distorted leaves, often with yellow blotches.

The stem tips and buds may also turn black and die.

Nematodes can infect bulbs, too, leading to similar symptoms in the foliage, as well as yellowish swellings or specks on the undersides of leaves.

THE SOLUTION

Remove affected plant parts as soon as you see them, and buy firm, healthy-looking bulbs from reputable suppliers.

There are no chemical controls.

FUNGUS GNATS

THE PROBLEM