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10 Common Houseplant Pests and How to Get Rid of Them

Give the stubborn indoor bugs the boot for good with our guide on Common Houseplant Pests and How to Get Rid of Them!

Although a few pests here and there do not cause much harm, if you leave the problem untreated, it can multiply and make an ugly mess. Panic not! Check out our post on Common Houseplant Pests and How to Get Rid of Them!

Do you Know How to Make Homemade Insecticidal Soap to Kill Pests? Read on!


Common Houseplant Pests and How to Get Rid of Them

1. Spider Mites

Common Houseplant Pests and How to Get Rid of Them
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Tiny insects like spider mites are so small that you may never be able to notice them with your naked eyes, but they look like dark specs on surfaces. You may first see their silky white webs along the veins. Spider mites love figs, hibiscus, ivies, scheffleras, and dracaenas. 

How to Control: Wash these insects away with soapy water, and pruning infested plants and parts of plants is the best way to destroy these insects.  Alternatively, you can kill spider mites with a mix of rubbing alcohol and water in a 1:4 ratio. 

Check out our article on getting rid of spider mites here

2. Aphids

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Aphids are another sap-sucking insect that produces sticky honeydew. They are fond of attacking many different species of plants and causing wilting and distorted growth. 

How to Control: Spray infested plants with high-pressure water. Insecticidal soaps, horticultural oil, and neem oil sprays can destroy the insects, too. 

Click here to know the Amazing Natural Pesticide Recipe that can Kill any Pest

3. Mealybugs

Common Houseplant Pests and How to Get Rid of Them 2
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Mealybugs are similar to scales and make dew with their waxy bodies. Whenever you notice waxy deposits on the plant or sooty mold, it is a mealybugs infestation. Hoya, jade, poinsettias, coleus, and gardenias are most prone to mealybugs. 

How to Control: Use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. For larger, sturdy plants, wash leaves off with a strong spray of water to dislodge the pests. Insecticidal soap and neem oil may be the best option for heavy infestations.

Check out our article on getting rid of mealybugs here

4. Scales

Scales are soft-bodied pests that suck up plant sap. Whenever you notice the leaves turning yellow, or stems dying, check for scale infestation.

How to Control: Use an insecticidal soap or neem oil to destroy these insects. Also, try dabbing these insects with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol. You can also use your fingernails to pull them off gently.

5. Leafminer

Common Houseplant Pests and How to Get Rid of Them 3
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Leafminers can harm vegetables like spinach, Swiss chard, and other houseplants. If you spot squiggly lines running through the leaves, it’s leafminer infestation. 

How to Control: Make a DIY pepper spray by mixing two hot peppers, one bulb of garlic, and one onion in a quart of water and allow the solution to sit for 1-2 hours. Then, strain and spray it on the affected areas. You can also trap the insects using sticky blue tape and trim any damaged, affected plant parts.

6. Whiteflies

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Whiteflies are winged, tiny insects with a powdery appearance. They damage the underside of the leaves, making them yellow. Be more careful with hibiscus, ivies, and poinsettias.

How to Control: Spray the plants using a soapy mix, particularly the undersides of the leaves. They get suffocated under the layer of soap. 

7. Broad Mites

Common Houseplant Pests and How to Get Rid of Them 4
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Broad Mites are lesser-known pests, and they can cause considerable damage to the edges and tips of plants. You can hardly see the insect with your naked eyes, but watch out for signs like stunted growth, leaves curling, and distortion.

How to Control: Use a miticide, horticultural oil, or insecticidal soap to spray the affected areas. You can dunk the plants in hot water at 105°F or 40°C for 15-20 minutes. Usually, it is best to dispose of the affected plant to stop spreading.

8. Springtails

Springtails are tiny, wingless creatures that can cause damage to the leaves and stems of plants. When they spring upwards in a cluster, they look like a small cloud. 

How to Control:  Sprinkle diatomaceous earth to repel these bugs. You can also vacuum them up. 

9. Fungus Gnats

Common Houseplant Pests and How to Get Rid of Them 8
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Tiny Fungus Gnats are more of a nuisance than any infestation at an early stage; they feed on the roots and stunt growth. Avoid overwatering to keep them at bay.

How to Control: Do not allow the water to stand near the plants. Let the soil surface dry up entirely between the watering sessions. Drench the soil using a biological insecticide to control the larvae. To capture the adults, you can use yellow sticky traps. 

10. Thrips

Thrips can cause a lot of damage to plants. They feed by sucking on leaves, fruits, and flowers—spreading diseases besides distorting growth. 

How to Control: Use insecticidal soap or neem oil to wash all sides of the leaves. You can even put up blue sticky traps to capture and eliminate thrips. 

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