As the winter months approach, days get shorter, and the quality of light within our homes declines. These conditions cause plants immune systems to weaken and they become more susceptible to insect infestations. If treated properly, your plant should be able to make a full recovery. The most common pests that you will find on houseplants are aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies. The treatment for all these bugs is the same.
The first line of defence is giving your plant a shower if it is small enough to fit in the sink or bathtub. Simply use your spray nozzle to rinse off all parts of the plant- the top and bottom of leaves, stems, flowers, buds, and the top of the soil. This should wash away a good portion of the bugs. Just be sure to use a stream of water that is not so forceful that it will damage the plant.
Next, you will have to treat your plant with a contact spray. There are products available from our garden store that are safe to use and will not damage the plant. Spray the product on all surfaces of the plant. These products are only effective when they come in contact with the insect, so make sure to spray the product on thoroughly. Most labels recommend this treatment for two to three weeks, but if you continue for six weeks you are more likely to eliminate all stages of the insects.
To treat bugs and larvae in the soil, you can use a dust. The soil must be dry on top for these products to stay effective. Keeping your plant on the drier side will help control some insects, such as fungus gnats.
If fungus gnats or adult whiteflies are a problem, you can purchase yellow sticky traps. These will attract and catch the flying insects.
When you first notice insects on a houseplant, it is a good idea to isolate it from other plants in your house to prevent the bugs from spreading. It may take a little work, but if you follow these steps you should be successful at eliminating bugs from your plants.