Help! There's bugs on my plants!
The mortal enemy of every plant parent- bugs. Mealy, scale, aphids- the list goes on! Knowing how to identify which pest your plant is suffering with is important, so you know the best way to tackle it, and how to prevent your plant from becoming infested in the first place.
Here are some of the more common pests, and how to banish them from your plant baby forever.
These are a very common ailment of NZ indoor plants. They are white, fluffy and evil, feeding on the juices from the leaves and stems of your plant. They often hide in the webbing and in between the stems, so be sure to thoroughly check your plant. They can also burrow into the soil and live there too, so check your soil as well. These bugs often come about when your plant is left dry for too long, so be wary of under-watering. Treat Mealy by taking a hand sanitiser soaked cotton bud, and wiping all the mealy bugs away. Then spray with a pest control treatment like neem or Nature's Way.
Scale is another common pest in NZ. These bugs look a bit like limpets, and feed on sap from your houseplants. They often prey on unhealthy plants, so be sure to fertilize regularly in the Summer and keep a regular watering schedule. These pests, like mealy, hide in the webbing, the stems, and also underneath the leaves of your houseplant. Remove them with a neem soaked cotton bud, but using hand sanitizer or non oil based product for palms, as they breathe through their leaves and could suffocate. You can also use diluted dish soap to treat.
Aphids are often found on outdoor plants, typically fruit or vegetable plants, but they can sometimes make their way inside too. They are typically green and pear shaped, and cluster together on the plant. If you find aphids on your plants, wipe them off with a hand sanitiser or rubbing alcohol soaked cloth, then give a thorough spray- soaking with diluted dish soap or a pest treatment.
These bugs are a bit tricky, as they're microscopic and cant be seen by the naked eye. Like scale, they also feed on the sap of plants, and will leave tiny yellow speckles on your leaves. They favour hot, dry conditions, so be aware if you have these conditions in your home. These are notoriously tricky to get rid of, so you'll have to be vigilant. If you're sure there's only spider mites on one or two leaves, you can always cut them off and treat as well. Spraying every 2-3 days with a pest treatment like natures way or neem oil will hopefully do the trick. If you do notice your plant is suffering from spider mites, be sure to isolate your plant so it doesn't spread.
If you notice that any of your plants have pests, make sure you act quickly with treatment, or better yet, keep up a careful regimen of regular watering, Summer fertilising, and a watchful eye on your plant babies.