If you find any pests on your plants, it’s important to begin treatment immediately as they can multiply very quickly. Here are some of the common houseplant pests and how to treat them.
Fungus gnats are tiny flying insects, commonly found where humidity and moisture are high. You will need to get rid of the adult flies, larvae and nymph to stop its lifecycle. It’s best to let the soil dry out, without stressing the plant, as these pests thrive in moisture. Use sticky traps to attract adult flies, and spray the entire plant and soil with neem oil. Reapply once a week as needed.
Spider mites are barely visible, tiny bugs appear in tan, reddish-brown or black in colour. They thrive in warm, dry conditions and can become a major problem during the winter. If you look closely at the plant, the webbing can often be found on the undersides of the leaves. Remove the infected the leaves and stems and dispose immediately. Treat your plant thoroughly with neem oil. Reapply every 3-5 days for 2-3 weeks to eliminate the spider mites completely.
Mealybugs are wingless insects that often appear as white cottony masses on the leaves and stems. They feed into plants and drawing the sap out of the tissue. Remove the mealybugs with a cotton bud dipped in alcohol, then spray the plant thoroughly with neem oil. Reapply once a week as needed.
Scale bugs are sap-sucking insects with hard oval-shaped shells that attach themselves to leaves and stems. These pests can be tedious to remove as you will need to scrape them off the plant without damaging the plant further. Use a cotton bud dipped in rubbing alcohol or a toothpick to scrape them off, and spray the plant thoroughly with neem oil. Reapply once a week as needed.
Aphids have soft oval-shaped bodies that range in colour and translucency. You will notice your plant infested by these bugs as new foliage growth will typically look deformed and scrunched. They also leave behind a sticky residue sometimes known as “honeydew”. To remove the aphids, you should prune off all the infested stems and leaves. It is best to spray with neem oil for long-term protection, for immediate results it can be enough to prune and hose them off with rapid hosing (be careful not to damage the plant if you choose this option). You can continue this for several days until you start to notice them neutralised.