Where do houseplant pests come from? That is a question I get asked a lot (and have wondered myself many times!). Sometimes it can be hard to figure it out. But understanding how your houseplants can get bugs will prevent future infestations, and help you keep bugs off indoor plants for good!
Finding bugs on plants is one of the most common houseplant 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 houseplant 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 houseplant bug problems before. Then one day you discover your houseplants infested with bugs – which seem to have appeared out of nowhere. How in the world did that happen?
How Do My Indoor Plants Have Bugs?
Bringing plants indoors after being outside all summer is one way houseplants can become infested, but it’s not the only way. Even houseplants that stay inside year round can become infested.
Since they’re so tiny, there are several ways that plant-eating bugs can get into your house and onto your houseplants. Understanding where they come from is the first step in preventive pest control, 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 first. I have a lot of experience dealing with houseplants and bugs, 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 common plant bugs can get into your house, and onto your houseplants. This list isn’t all-inclusive by any means, but will give you lots of things to think about.
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, and once I found mealybugs on some 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 door or windows in the summer and infest nearby plants. Learn how to get rid of spider mites on houseplants here.
3. Bugs in potting mix: Some common insect pests lay their eggs in potting 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. A 5 gallon bucket with a tight seal lid works perfectly. Learn how to get rid of bugs in houseplants soil here.
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 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 on the plant 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 from 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 plants. To learn more, read about my natural pest control home 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 houseplant pest 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 on houseplants. Be sure to test it on a few leaves before washing the whole plant.
- If the plant is too large to bring to a sink or bathtub, you use a soapy spray to wash the leaves. I use 1 tsp liquid soap to 1 liter of water, and mix it into a spray bottle. If you don’t want to make your own, you can buy an organic insecticidal soap and use that instead. You can pour either of these into the pot to kill bugs in plant 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 work to kill the tiny bugs in houseplant 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 in the first place. Unfortunately these tiny houseplant pests can appear out of nowhere.
But once you understand where they can come from, you’ll know how to keep insects away from indoor plants 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 houseplant 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
- Organic Pest Control Supplies List
- How To Use Neem Oil Insecticide On Plants
- How To Get Rid Of Whiteflies On Indoor Plants, For Good!
Share your stories about where houseplant pests came from on your indoor plants in the comments below.