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Protecting Against Household Plant Pests

As we approach spring, a time when people are commonly purchasing plants or even receiving them as gifts for occasions such as Valentine’s Day or Mothers’ Day, it’s important to know how to handle and treat these plants to avoid introducing new pests into your home.  There are a range of different pests that love to feast on plants commonly found in homes.  Some of the most common offenders include mites, spring tails, mealybugs and gnats.
These pests are primarily interested in your plants, but once indoors, they may end up being attracted to other household items and spread throughout your home.

We know you’ll be eager to decorate your home with that beautiful new peace lily or that delightful smelling orchid.  However, it’s a good idea to keep these plants in a garage or storage room for a week or so before introducing them to your home.   This way, you can check and monitor them for bugs before bringing them inside.  Still be sure to water them and expose them to the appropriate amount of sunlight.  Even once you’ve deemed these plants suitable to bring indoors, regular inspection will help prevent major infestations.

Proper maintenance is another major aspect of plant pest control.  Plants with large leaves should be frequently washed with a rag or towel to remove dust buildup as this is a major pest attractor. It is also essential that you provide your plants with adequate sunlight.  Plants that become weak or stressed due to lack of sun are more susceptible to pest problems.

If and when you do find pests on your plants, there are a few ways you should go about removing them.  The best method of removal depends on what type of bug you are dealing with, but many of these pests can be hand picked off the plant with gloves.  Depending on what type of plant you have and how sensitive the leaves are, you may want to try wiping off bugs with an alcohol-soaked cotton ball.  If you find that houseplant pests have become unmanageable or have spread to other areas of your home, it’s important to seek professional pest control. Check back next week for more detailed information on specific types of pest plants and treatment methods.

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