House Plant Pests

Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 11:43 AM.

Thoughts of insect infestations usually bring to mind attacks on outdoor ornamental planting and vegetable gardens.  But, house plants are not immune to insect invasions.  Of course, plants growing indoors are better protected than those exposed to outside conditions.  However, a number of insects may infiltrate your home in search of a leafy meal.

Major enemies of indoor plants include spider mites, mealy bugs, aphids, and scales all of which cause damage by sucking out plant juices.

Spider mites, which may be green, yellow, red, or almost colorless, are very small –only about one-fiftieth of an inch long.  They’re difficult to see without a magnifying glass.  As the name implies, they look like tiny spiders, and are usually found on the undersides of leaves.  If your plants are heavily infested with spider mites, you’ll see fine webbing on the foliage.

Mealy bugs are small, soft-bodied insects, about an eighth of an inch long they’re covered with a white powdery material.  Some species are long, waxy filament at the rear of the body.

Aphids, which may be green, pink, brown, black, yellow, or blue, are usually less than an eighth of an inch long.  They are pear-shaped, have long antennae, and two short tubes that extend from the rear of the body. 

Scales, like aphids, are found in a wide range of colors.  They range from an eight to a third of an inch in length, are covered with a waxy material,

and may be circular, oblong, or pear-shaped.  Scales are found on both sides of leaves, as well as on twigs and branches, where they hide in crevices.

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