Indoor Plant Insects – Spider Mites and Mealybugs

Indoor Gardening

When we start thinking of house plants, the idea of indoor plant insects does not usually occur to us. Unfortunately, there are a few insects that attack indoor plants. Like their outdoor counterparts, these indoor insects are destructive to the plants that they inhabit. Also like their outdoor counterparts, as soon as the symptoms of an infestation becomes noticeable, immediate action needs to be taken.

Once an infestation is found on an indoor plant, all of the indoor plants need to be checked for signs of insects. Like other insects, the varieties that attack house plants tend to multiply quickly. When an infestation has grown to the point of being noticeable, it is usually quite large. These infestations can kill a plant quickly.

Among the most common indoor plant pests is the spider mite. Spider mites are not very particular about the type of plant that they inhabit. They feed on several hundred types of plants.Spider mites can hatch in as short as 3 days, then become sexually mature in as little as 5. Females can lay up to 20 eggs each day and can live for 2 to 4 weeks.

Plants that are infested with spider mites will have delicate webbing from the stem to the underside of the leaves. The problem arises when the initial treatment is not successful. Spider mites multiply quickly enough that the population will become immune to an insecticide quickly if it is the only one used.

Spider mites are yellow or green in color and are so small that they are not easy to see. One way to check for the presence of them is to tap the leaf over a piece of white paper and check for very tiny movements on the paper. Use a good insecticide to remove them.

Shell Insects appear like as small bump of wax on a stem or leaf. It is usually not possible to view these creatures without magnification, but as their numbers increase they make their presence known. These pests can stunt a plants growth and even kill the plant over time. Again, use a good insecticide spray to rid the plants of these pests.

Mealy Bugs are large enough that they are visible without using magnification. These insects look like they have come out of a sack of flour and have a long waxy protrusion from their tails. It is the female of the species that stays attached to the plant. The males develop wings and stay close to the females. The males are short-lived as they do not eat as adults. With mealy bugs, some species lay eggs (50 to 100 at a time), others, the offspring are born live.

Since mealy bugs appear to be small clusters of cotton on the plant, they are relatively easy to spot. Check the under side of the leaves for signs of these pests and when you do find them wash them off with water and spray the plants with insecticide. It may take a couple of weeks of treatment before you are rid of these pests.

These and other indoor plant insects will kill a plant over time. They are not only destructive, they are also very unsightly. A beautiful plant will become unhealthy and unsightly defeating the purpose of decorating with plants.

Keeping your houseplants clean is the first step in prevention. Spraying regularly with an insecticide may be another necessary step depending on the amount of trouble that the plants are having with pests.

The Author:

Anna Brown

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