How To Get Rid Of Bugs On Plants Naturally

Buying houseplants brighten up any home, adding a splash of colour and helping to purify the air. But when those beautiful plants bring in pesky bugs, that’s a huge problem! If you’re wondering how to get rid of bugs on plants, and looking to go the green route, then keep reading!

How To Get Rid Of Bugs On Plants

According to a study published by researchers from the University of Washington, having ongoing access to nature can help reduce stress, improve sleep, and contribute to a greater happiness and satisfaction with life. While camping trips or weekend hikes can certainly help you connect to nature, taking care of a houseplant or five can be a much easier way to incorporate greenery into your everyday life.

Thanks to the growing green movement and popularity of houseplants, they are now much easier to get your hands on, with many neighbourhood spots offering a large variety to suit your individual needs. Whether you need pet-friendly, non-toxic plants that love sunlight or long, sprawling vines that thrive in the shadows, there’s an indoor plant out there for everyone!

Unfortunately, however, as we know from our outdoor adventures, bugs also love plants, flowers and other greenery. So, if you’ve accidently brought creepy crawlies into your home, we can help! If you’re looking for the best ways to get rid of bugs on indoor plants, then keep reading!

Best Ways To Spot Bugs On Houseplants

While you may find the occasional spider, beetle or ant on your indoor plants, it’s unlikely that these pests will do any damage to your houseplants. In fact, spiders can actually feast on plant-eating insects that are plaguing your pots. So don’t worry about these creepy crawlies damaging your Fiddle Leaf Fig! The insects that we’re going to deep dive on are actually much lesser-known pests that can cause significant damage to your plants, such as yellowing, wilting or stunted growth, if left to thrive.

Yellowed Leaves

There are many things that can cause plants to yellow, such as improper watering, extreme temperature changes, or excess humidity. However, these three common household pests, whiteflies, spider mites, and mealybugs, can also be to blame. All three of these pests use their sharp mouthparts to pierce plant leaves and stems, so they can then suck the plant’s juices straight from the plant tissue. Therefore, an infestation of any of these three insects can quickly deplete the plant’s necessary nutrients, causing your houseplant’s leaves to yellow and fall off.

Wilted Plants

Under watering your plants can certainly cause them to droop or wilt, but so can adult thrips or young scale! Both pests tend to congregate on your plants in clusters, often found on the underside of plant leaves. They feed on sap. Both scale nymph and thrips are very small, just a few millimetres in length, which can make spotting an infestation difficult with the naked eye.

Stunted Growth

Some pests, such as broad mites, can actually stunt plant growth. Broad mites tend to thrive during warm summer days. Their feeding habits can actually deform and stunt the growth of plant leaves. Broad mites prefer to feed on new growth. Toxicity in their saliva is actually what causes the deformed growth, and even after removing the infestation, you may still see some deformed new growth.

How To Get Rid Of Bugs On Plants Indoors

The good news is, most damage can be prevented if you remove the pests in a timely manner. The even better news? We have effective and natural remedies for you below, so you can stop wondering how to get rid of bugs on plants and finally get rid of them for good!

Inspect New Plants

The best way to help get rid of pests on plants is to avoid bringing infested plants home in the first place!

When buying a new houseplant from a gardening centre or nursery, be sure to thoroughly inspect the plant for any evidence of pest infestations. Make sure to check under the leaves for clusters of white, brown or red spots. These could signal an aphid, scales or spider mites infestation. Next, make sure to check for insects where the leaves meet the stems, which is where thrips are commonly found. Last but not least, check for fungus gnats by combing your fingers through the plant’s soil, searching for dark, fly-like pests that measure approximately one-eighth of an inch long.

Examine Plants Before Bringing Them Indoors

Many homeowners opt to place their indoor plants outside during the warmer months, so the plant can receive more sunlight. However, this can actually increase the odds of bringing outdoor pests in.

Before moving your plant back inside for fall, be sure to carefully check your plants for signs of pests or pest damage. In addition to yellow leaves or drooping/wilted plants, keep a look out for spotted or misshapen leaves, webbing attached to the underside of leaves, and any presence of a black, sticky substance, called sooty mold. If you accidentally bring an infested plant indoors, you risk quickly spreading the infection to your other indoor, otherwise healthy, houseplants.

Avoid Overwatering

One of the biggest factors attracting fungus gnats to houseplants is excess moisture. Because these pests prefer to lay their eggs within moist soil, an overwatered houseplant may quickly begin to host a fungus gnat infestation. Dr. Leonard Perry, a Horticulture Professor at the University of Vermont, advises against watering plants following a specific schedule. Instead, he says that “plants should be watered when the soil feels dry to the touch.” Water any more, and you may cause your plants to retain moisture for too long and attract unwanted pests.

Try Soap And Water

If you do spot pests on your houseplants, there is an easy, natural remedy that can help you remove the pests. According to an article published by the Colorado State University Extension, a mixture of dish detergent and tap water can help remove spider mite and aphid infestations from your houseplants. Pour 1 quart of water into a spray bottle and add 4 teaspoons of the detergent to reach a desired 2% per cent concentration and give each plant a good spray. This mixture won’t take care of all houseplant pests, but it will successfully dehydrate some of the soft-bodied bugs living on your plants.

Some of the most common houseplant pests, like aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies, can cause major damage to the plants you spent so long tending to, but following these DIY tricks can help you identify, prevent, and remove harmful pests from your houseplants.