Where do houseplant pests come from? That is a question I get asked a lot (and have wondered myself many times!). Understanding how your indoor plants can get bugs will prevent future infestations, and help you keep them off for good!
Finding bugs on houseplants is one of the most common problems, and it can be super frustrating. If you’re like me and you grow a lot of plants indoors, then you may have had to deal with pests before.
But if this is your first time finding bugs on your plants, then it can be very confusing. What! How do my indoor plants have bugs?!
You could have houseplants for several years, and never had any bug problems before. Then one day you discover an infestation – which seem to have appeared out of nowhere. How in the world did that happen?
Below I’ll talk in detail about all of the different ways that bugs can get into your home and infest your houseplants.
Here’s what you’ll find in this guide…
How Do Indoor Plants Get Bugs?
One of the most common things people ask me is how the heck do indoor plants get bugs in the first place?
Bringing them indoors after having them outside all summer is one way they can become infested, but it’s not the only way. Even houseplants that stay inside year round can get bugs.
Since they’re so tiny, there are several ways that plant-eating bugs can get into your home, and onto your houseplants.
Understanding where they come from is the first step to preventing major outbreaks, so let’s talk about it.
Where Do Houseplant Pests Come From?
As soon as I discover bugs on my houseplants, I try to figure out where they came from. I have a lot of experience dealing with them, and I’ve learned many of these causes the hard way.
So I decided to put together a list of some of the ways that bugs can get into your house, and onto your indoor plants. This list isn’t all-inclusive by any means, but will give you lots of things to think about.
Related Post: How To Identify Common Types Of Houseplant Bugs
1. Fresh produce: Whether from the grocery store or your garden, fresh produce can carry all types of common houseplant bugs into your home.
On numerous occasions, I have seen aphids on food that I brought in from the garden. I’ve also seen them on produce at the grocery store.
I’ve also found mealybugs a few times on bananas I brought home from the store. Learn how to get rid of mealybugs on houseplants here.
2. Open doors and windows: Tiny bugs, like spider mites or fungus gnats, can easily come through the screens of open doors or windows in the summer, and infest nearby plants.
I’ve had this happen on numerous occasions, especially when there are outdoor potted plants right outside of the window. Learn how to get rid of spider mites on houseplants here.
3. Bugs in potting mix: Some insect pests lay their eggs in soil. It’s not uncommon to see bugs like fungus gnats flying around bags of potting soil at the garden center.
To keep your leftover potting soil bug-free, store it in an air tight container. They can’t live very long without oxygen.
4. New plants: Another common source of houseplant pests is a new plant. No matter where you buy the plant, be sure to closely inspect it before you bring it home.
But a houseplant infestation can occur shortly after bringing a new plant home too, even if there were no signs of bugs when you checked it at the store. So keep it isolated until you’re sure your new houseplant doesn’t have pest problems.
5. Cut flowers: Whether from the store or your garden, cut flowers are another possible carrier of indoor plant bugs. I’ve found both aphids and spider mites on fresh flowers in the past.
Either keep the flowers away from your houseplants, or inspect them to make sure there aren’t any bugs on them before bringing them into your house. Learn how to get rid of aphids on houseplants here.
6. Other bugs: It sounds crazy, but bugs like ants are known to bring sap sucking plant pests like aphids, scale and mealybugs to a houseplant.
The ants like to harvest the sweet dew that is created when these pests feast on your plants. Yuck! Make sure to keep an eye out for ants in your house. Learn how to get rid of scale on houseplants here.
Quick Houseplant Pest Control Tips
To get you started, I’ll share a few of my best home remedies, and give you some tips for how to remove bugs from indoor plants. To learn more, read about my natural pest control remedies for houseplants.
- As soon as you discover that a plant is infested, the first thing you should do is isolate it to keep the bugs from spreading to your other plants.
- For bugs on leaves, you can wash the plant to kill as many as possible. I recommend using a mild liquid soap. Be sure to test it on a few leaves before washing the whole houseplant.
- If the plant is too large to bring to a sink or bathtub, use a soapy spray to wash the leaves. I mix 1 tsp liquid soap to 1 liter of water, and pour it into a spray bottle. If you don’t want to make your own, you can buy an organic insecticidal soap instead. You could also pour either of these into the pot to kill bugs in soil.
- Use an indoor plant insect spray for long-term control, but make sure it’s organic. Neem oil is a natural insecticide that works great to keep bugs off houseplants. Horticultural oil also works well. Either of these will also kill the tiny bugs in the soil.
- For houseplants with flying bugs, use yellow sticky traps to capture and kill them.
Get or more detailed information and tips for how to get rid of bugs in indoor plants here.
The first step in getting rid of bugs on houseplants is understanding where they came from. Unfortunately these tiny pests can appear out of nowhere.
But once you understand where insects on indoor plants can come from, you’ll know how to keep them away in the future.
And the next time you wonder “Why are there bugs in my houseplants?”, you’ll be able to figure it out much easier.
If you’re tired of struggling with bugs on your plants, then my Houseplant Pests eBook is for you! It will help you identify the most common pests, and show you exactly how to eradicate each of them so your houseplants will finally be bug free! Download up your copy today!
More Posts About Houseplant Pests
- How To Debug Plants Before Bringing Them Indoors
- How To Use Neem Oil Insecticide On Plants
- How To Get Rid Of Whiteflies On Indoor Plants, For Good!
- How To Keep Cats Out Of Houseplants
Share your stories about where houseplant pests came from on your indoor plants in the comments below.