The Q&A Archives: Controlling Little, White Bugs on Indoor Ming Trees

Question: There are tiny little white bugs on one of my indoor Japanese Ming trees. The tree looks sick. What are these bugs; will they spread to my other Ming trees; how can I rid them? Thanks. Mary New York, NY

Answer: Your ming could be infested with whiteflies (if they fly away when you touch the leaf) or mealybugs (if they don't move). Or it could be aphids. Spraying weekly with insecticidal soap will deter all of these pests. You should be able to purchase insecticidal soap at your local garden center. You can also try spraying with a soapy water mixture. If the insects appear to be mealybugs--white, cottony-looking creatures that congregate in the area where the leaf meets the stem--try dabbing them with rubbing alcohol. Keep a very close eye on your other houseplants, as all these pests spread easily. At the first sign of the insects, begin spraying.

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