House Plants/Pest Control - Knowledgebase Question

Hillman, Mi
Question by kladlarson
October 31, 2009
I have a Tropical Cana in my sun room that appears to have small black bugs and webs of tiny white spiders on it. They are spreading to my other house plants how can I get rid of them and prevent them from coming back. Thank-You

Answer from NGA
October 31, 2009


Houseplants are susceptible to attack by many insects and mite pests. Some of these houseplant pests can cause extensive damage to the appearance and health of the plant while others are simply a nuisance. Plants that are not vigorously growing and/or are under stress may be particularly susceptible to insect and mite injuries.

Many household plant pests can be controlled, at least in part, by washing the plant periodically with a vigorous jet of water. This is particularly effective for spider mites and aphids, which are most readily dislodged.

To help avoid insect pests you'll want to make some cultural changes. Watering affects houseplant pests in a couple of differerent of ways. Excessively moist soil favors the development of problems with fungus gnats. However, plants placed in very hot, dry sites are prone to problems with spider mites.

Larger houseplant insects can be controlled by handpicking. This is especially useful for scale insects and mealybugs. Regularly using small, hand-held vacuums assist in controlling whiteflies.

Yellow sticky traps can be useful to reduce the number of insect pests that fly ? whiteflies, winged aphids, and fungus gnats. These traps are sold commercially or you can easily make them by cutting bright yellow cardboard and covering it with petroleum jelly or some other sticky material. However, trapping alone will not entirely eliminate problems because much of the population, including the younger stages, remain on or about the plants.

Seriously infested plants are often best discarded because they usually require lengthy and extraordinary efforts to control the pests. They may also serve as a source for infesting other plants.

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