8 Common Houseplant Pests and How to Remove Them

Pests are the very last thing any houseplant proprietor desires to take care of. These bugs are dangerous to our valuable vegetation and might unfold quickly indoors, invading our residing areas and wreaking havoc.

Fortunately, should you act shortly, you may often cease houseplant pests from doing any long-term injury or, worse, killing the plant. Preserving a watch out for indicators of infestation and following the therapy choices as shortly as doable will guarantee pests by no means develop into greater than a nuisance in your house.

Hold a watch out for these eight frequent houseplant pests, with directions on eradicating every one.

Spider Mites

These tiny arachnid pests injury houseplants by inflicting leaf discoloration and webbing.

Spider mites are among the many most typical houseplant pests in heat and dry indoor environments. Because the title implies, these pests are arachnids (not bugs), extra intently associated to spiders than different bugs on this checklist.

Spider mites are extremely tiny. There are additionally a number of varieties, such because the widespread two-spotted spider mite, with colours starting from inexperienced to crimson and yellow. Since they’re robust to identify with the bare eye, you’ll often discover indicators of concern in your vegetation lengthy earlier than you see any bugs your self.

As spider mites are sap-sucking pests, you’ll often discover yellow or brown discoloration on the leaves. They could even have a dusty residue and high quality webbing between the stems or wrapped round leaves. In extreme instances, your houseplant could cease rising totally, dropping its current leaves.

One technique to establish spider mites is to shake the leaves onto white paper. In the event you discover tiny transferring dots that stand out, they’re in all probability spider mites.

As quickly as you discover a spider mite downside, isolate the plant to cease the bugs from spreading. For minor infestations, spray the leaves with water to take away bugs and any eggs, repeating the method each few days till all indicators of infestation have disappeared.

For a stronger therapy, strive insecticidal cleaning soap or horticultural oil. Some vegetation are extra delicate to those remedies than others, so do analysis and apply rigorously when you’ve chosen a therapy.

Since spider mites like heat and dry environments, altering situations can restrict issues and stop infestations sooner or later. Transfer the plant to a barely cooler room (if it will possibly deal with the temperature dip) and improve humidity round it. Additionally, sustain with watering to cease the soil from drying out fully, limiting stress.


A Dracaena plant with slender, green leaves displays a concerning issue as white, fluffy substance coats its foliage. These cottony patches are a telltale sign of mealybugs, small pests that infest plants and leave behind a powdery residue.
Mealybugs are simply recognized by the white, fluffy substance they go away behind on houseplants.

Fortunately, these bugs are a lot simpler to establish than spider mites due to the waxy, cotton-like substance they go away behind. You’ve got a mealybug infestation should you discover something white and fluffy in your houseplants – notably if these white and fluffy spots are transferring.

Associated to scale bugs, tons of of mealybug species are present in indoor and out of doors gardens. Additionally they suck the sap from leaves and stems and lay eggs in any gaps they will discover to breed. They produce their waxy coating to guard the bugs and their eggs.

Mealybugs additionally secrete a sticky substance referred to as honeydew that continues to be on the leaves of your houseplants. If not resolved, this may result in the event of black sooty mould, negatively impacting total development. Honeydew may appeal to ants, though that is much less frequent indoors.

Mealybug infestations are vital to catch early. In the event you go away these bugs round for too lengthy, they may develop into a lot more durable to manage. Extreme infestations are virtually unimaginable to resolve, that means you’ll seemingly have to discard the plant fully.

As quickly as you see indicators of mealybugs, take motion by isolating the plant and spraying off as many as doable with a powerful jet of water. Kill the remaining pests by hand with a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol. Proceed repeating the therapy if you spot new bugs till they’re fully gone.

Different remedies like neem oil or insecticidal cleaning soap are additionally efficient. Apply rigorously in line with the directions on the product to keep away from damaging your houseplants. If follow-up remedies don’t take away the mealybugs, it’s finest to discard the plant to cease the bugs from spreading round your indoor backyard.


A vibrant colony of yellow aphids congregates on the lush, green oleander leaves, feasting on their sweet sap. A group of industrious black ants busily traverses the leaf, seemingly tending to the aphid colony with purposeful intent.
Aphids reproduce quickly indoors, inflicting injury to houseplants and inhibiting development.

Hundreds of various aphid species unfold worldwide, attacking virtually each plant in your indoor and out of doors backyard. These pear-shaped bugs are available many colours and are onerous to identify individually however straightforward to establish in clusters as soon as they begin reproducing.

The primary concern in the case of aphids on houseplants is copy. Outdoor, their copy is influenced by the change in seasons. Indoors, the place it stays heat year-round, aphids regularly reproduce, spreading much more quickly between houseplants than they’d in your yard.

Aphid injury is just like mealybug injury. Together with sucking the sap from the leaves and weakening the plant, these bugs additionally secrete honeydew that encourages sooty mould. This inhibits photosynthesis, stunting development, and growing stress.

Tiny aphids are good at hiding, making them harder to identify within the preliminary levels of infestation. Examine the undersides of houseplant leaves and gaps between stems to establish potential issues.

Like mealybugs, it’s finest to deal with an aphid infestation as quickly as doable. Isolate the plant should you spot any pear-shaped bugs, prepping for therapy. Additionally, look out for aphids on every other houseplants to deal with them concurrently in case of unfold.

Your first line of protection is a straightforward spray of water. Aphids connect themselves to the leaves with their piercing mouthparts, and spraying them off quickly removes their mouthparts from the remainder of the physique, successfully killing them. Choose off any remaining bugs by hand and squish them between your fingers.

It is going to take just a few rounds of therapy to take away the bugs fully. If in case you have a plant delicate to robust jets of water or if the aphids stick round, apply neem oil to suffocate and take away them.


A close-up of a tiny Western flower thrip, measuring just a few millimeters, on a green leaf. The thrip features a slender, elongated body with translucent wings, adorned with delicate patterns.
They’re discreet, swift-moving pests that trigger important plant injury by feeding on sap.

Thrips are barely much less frequent than the earlier pests on this checklist, however they’re extremely damaging as soon as they settle in. Troublesome to see with the bare eye, a tiny thrips downside can develop into big in weeks if not managed.

Grownup thrips are usually black, with wings that permit them to maneuver from one houseplant to the following shortly. As soon as they’ve discovered a spot they’re blissful in, they may suck on the sap inside leaves and stems, leaving small patches of discoloration.

The largest situation with thrips is the eggs hatching into nymphs that repeatedly feed on the plant. Grown nymphs transfer into the soil for his or her subsequent development stage, infiltrating each a part of the plant. As soon as they develop wings, they fly away to unfold eggs to extra houseplants.

After hatching, thrips can mature in just some weeks, quickly growing their numbers. The earlier you sort out the issue, the higher your probabilities of saving not solely the affected houseplant however all of your different houseplants too.

As with every therapy, begin by isolating the plant. Trim any leaves that present extreme indicators of injury, as these received’t recuperate and are seemingly storing a number of eggs. Spray the leaves – notably the undersides – to take away as most of the bugs as you may. Comply with up with insecticidal cleaning soap to kill the remaining bugs.

There’ll seemingly be just a few extra eggs after the preliminary therapy and probably some nymphs within the soil. Hold your plant remoted, reapplying the therapy each few days till you’re positive the issue is gone. If the plant nonetheless struggles after just a few weeks, discard it somewhat than threat spreading the issue.

Even after you’ve handled the plant, use sticky traps to cease any adults from attacking the plant once more. They usually select vegetation which are careworn or unhealthy, placing the beforehand handled houseplant repeatedly in danger.

Scale Bugs

A close-up displaying multiple small, round brown scale bugs clustered on the green surface of a leaf, their intricate exoskeletons gleaming under the light. Their presence and activity may affect the health and vitality of the leaf.
Scale bugs are dangerous pests that seem like small bumps on houseplants.

In the event you discover small bumps collected on the stems and leaves of your houseplants, they’re not growths. These are in all probability scale bugs, extremely damaging pests that feed on plant juices and weaken buildings throughout the stems.

Scale might be armored or unarmored, with the onerous shell scales the toughest to deal with and take away. They develop a protecting overlaying that provides them a rounded, growth-like look, feeding on the plant and laying eggs beneath this coating.

These bugs are often brown, so they’re generally mistaken for unusual growths within the stems. Nevertheless, they might even be creamy white or black. Younger scale bugs are extremely tiny and translucent, tough to identify till they discover a spot to latch onto and mature.

The earlier therapy choices concerned spraying unfastened bugs off the plant earlier than making use of removing merchandise. Sadly, that received’t work for scale. These bugs latch onto the stems and leaf veins, typically protected against robust sprays by their coverings.

Bodily removing is the perfect start line, dislodging the bugs from their hideouts. Your fingernail is one of the best instrument, however should you’re squeamish, you can even use cotton swabs or an outdated toothbrush. Watch out to not injury the plant when eradicating scale – simply carry the bugs and shake them off.

When you’ve eliminated the dimensions you may see, apply an insecticidal cleaning soap or horticultural oil to sort out these you may need missed and to take away any younger bugs. Hold the plant remoted for just a few weeks till the dimensions downside is gone.


A close-up of the intricate web of veins on a cabbage leaf, serving as a backdrop to a bustling community of tiny whiteflies. Among them, numerous minuscule whitefly eggs can be seen.
Whiteflies are rapid-reproducing pests that may devastate vegetation with yellowing leaves and lowered development.

Though they’re extra intently associated to aphids and mealybugs than precise flies, whitefly completely describes the look of those tiny bugs. Whiteflies seem like small moths with white wings and generally yellow heads that collect across the undersides of leaves and fly off when the plant is disturbed.

Whiteflies develop quickly, transferring from the nymph stage to flying adults inside just a few weeks. Their fast copy makes these pests one of the tough to manage. That, mixed with their wings that permit them to hop from one plant to a different shortly, make whiteflies a extreme downside as soon as they settle in.

Houseplants with a whitefly infestation will develop yellowing leaves and a basic lack of development. Closely infested leaves could drop off the plant one after the other, persevering with till the bugs are eliminated. They produce shortly in heat and dry climate, very similar to spider mites.

Encouraging helpful bugs is among the finest methods to sort out recurring whiteflies. Sadly, that’s a bit tough to do indoors, so that you’ll have to take issues into your personal fingers.

Begin by spraying off as many bugs and eggs as you may, lifting the leaves to focus the water on the undersides. Comply with this up with insecticidal cleaning soap or horticultural oil, relying on what merchandise your explicit houseplant can deal with.

To handle any whiteflies that will nonetheless be flying round, use sticky traps. Grasp them round your houseplants or stick them into the soil to catch any remaining pests earlier than they will decide on the leaves.

Fungus Gnats

A close-up of a multitude of small fungus gnats trapped on a bright yellow adhesive tape. Their tiny bodies are visible, clustered together, ensnared by the sticky surface. Adjacent to the insects, a brown stem stands, providing a contrasting backdrop.
These pests lay eggs in moist soil, probably affecting plant development.

Fungus gnats are actually one of the annoying of all of the frequent houseplant pests. These small pests fly round your houseplants, laying eggs in moist soil to breed.

Though they aren’t as damaging as another pests, younger larvae can feed on younger, tender roots beneath the soil, probably slowing development. They will additionally unfold shortly round your house, filling the house and turning into an enormous nuisance.

Fungus gnats are interested in moist soil and infrequently develop into an issue when your houseplants are overwatered. Adults will lay their eggs within the soil, with larvae hatching inside just a few days. In about two weeks, new adults emerge from the soil and fly round to different houseplants.

Sticky traps are one of many finest methods to catch grownup fungus gnats, stopping them from laying eggs within the soil. Sadly, in case your soil is already infested, you’ll want to focus on this space for therapy to take away the issue altogether.

Begin by permitting the soil to dry out. Since they thrive in moist soil, depriving the gnats of moisture will assist restrict copy. After that, my go-to resolution is to easily repot all the plant, changing the soil fully to take away any traces of larvae.

In the event you’d want to not repot, you may strive making use of organic controls like Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis (Bti) to the soil to kill off the larvae. It’s possible you’ll want to use a number of rounds of therapy earlier than the larvae are eliminated fully.

After therapy, watch your watering rigorously to keep away from attracting fungus gnats to your houseplants once more.


A close-up of a peppermint plant leaf showcases its vibrant green color and distinctive serrated edges. This verdant leaf is home to two industrious black ants and several black aphids, forming a mini-ecosystem within its lush embrace.
Ants in houseplants can disrupt root development by nesting within the soil.

Most of us have expertise coping with ants in our properties or the backyard. However for houseplant house owners, they will develop into a very troubling situation.

Whereas ants don’t often feed on houseplants or do a lot injury, they will use the soil inside your containers as a hideout, laying eggs and reproducing to unfold round your house. Ants are by no means welcomed indoors however are particularly problematic after they carve up houseplant soil and trigger spatial issues for the roots.

Ants can point out that you just in all probability have one other pest downside to take care of, particularly aphids, mealybugs, or any pests that secrete honeydew. The ants feed on this sticky, candy substance whereas defending the opposite pests, growing the inhabitants of each bugs.

To sort out ants on the supply, bait traps are the reply. The ants are interested in the bait and carry it again to the colony, killing the remainder of the ants on the identical time. I’ve discovered it’s finest to change bait varieties often and place the traps of their typical path.

To take away the ants contained in the container, submerge the pot in a bucket of water for round half an hour to drown them. Alternatively, in the event that they’ve made a big house contained in the pot, it’s finest to repot and change the soil. Eradicating disintegrated soil shall be higher for the well being of your vegetation in the long term.

Ultimate Ideas

Pest issues are considerably out of our management as gardeners, however we will take steps to deal with and stop issues to preserve our houseplants blissful and problem-free.

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