Flower Bugs & Insects Eating Your Garden Plants

For many people, growing houseplants and flowers become an addictive experience but so do pests and bugs think.

At Panther Pest Control, we know that some plants are fussy about conditions and care, however, the effort is worth it, especially when you see amazing blooms.

Unfortunately, there are insects and bugs that can severely diminish the health of the plant and the ability to produce flowers. The damage these insects do reduces plant vitality and can even kill the plant. Houseplant insects you find in your house can come in DIY gardens that have been outside for summer, or newly bought growers. It’s a common problem for container gardening and cultures. Identifying pesky villains and providing effective control can save your plants and flowers.

We’ve teamed up with experienced gardeners and florists to provide you with all must-know information on flower pests.

Easier To Prevent Than Eliminate

Pest Control Acton

The best way to control insects on houseplants is through prevention. It’s a well-known fact that it’s easier to prevent an insect infestation than to eliminate one.

There are lots of effective practices you can try, and below we’ll describe the best of them. These approaches will help your plants stay healthy.

  • Stressed plants are more susceptible to insects, so provide them with the growing conditions they need.
  • Check if there are insects on plants when you buy them. Before buying or bringing a new plant home, always inspect it and its container for signs of insects. If you identify pests on a plant in the shop, tell a shop owner so that he/she can quarantine the plant and ensure it doesn’t get sold to someone else.
  • Use only clean pots and potting soil. When you bring home a new plant, before putting it into a new pot, make sure to thoroughly clean pots with a bleach solution or diluted soap to get rid of any disease-carrying agents.
  • Use commercially prepared potting soil when repotting a flower, instead of soil from outdoors, which is a rich source of pests.
  • Isolate new flowers for up to 6 weeks to make sure that any potential insects will be less likely to spread.
  • While your new plant is in isolation, carefully check it for signs of pests or damage every day. Pests or their eggs are most often found on the undersides of leaves, so use a 10X magnifying lens to pay particular attention to that area. Early caught infestation is much easier to control.
  • Examine the soil by taking the plant out of the pot. Plants that have been outside for summer, especially if they set on the ground, might have insects that crawled in through the drainage holes.
  • Every 2-3 weeks wash your smooth-leaved plants. It’ll discourage pest infestations and improve the appearance of the foliage.
  • Cut flowers from the garden may be a rich source of insects, so keep them separate from your houseplants, comment Allan’s Gardeners.
  • Pests, including insects that bite, can enter a house from the outdoors, so ensure that doors and screens fit well.

Major Insects Species

Wasps (V. vulgaris)

Wasp

If you come across a wasp, stay calm. Wasps are much more dangerous to attack if your arms feel like they attack first. If you are silly enough, take a hit, remove the stinger (if stuck), and apply ice to soothe and minimise swelling.

You can relieve itching via antihistamines.

Sugary foods and sweets draw wasps in, so avoid consuming such outdoors and wasps won’t bother.

Aphids (Aphidoidea)

Aphids are small, soft-bodied, pear-shaped insects usually found feeding on the undersides of leaves or fresh growth, some of them feed on roots. As aphids feed, they produce a sugary substance, called honeydew, that makes leaves sticky and shiny.

Mould fungi might grow on the honeydew, making dark splotches on the plant’s surface. In addition, new buds may become deformed and growth may slow down.

How to eliminate:

  • handpick
  • spray with water
  • or wipe the insects with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol
  • repeat the treatment multiple times

If you take your houseplants outdoors, spray them with Neem oil extract, insecticidal soap, Pyrethrins, Imidacloprid, Acetamiprid, Permethrin, or Cyfluthrin to control aphids.

Mealybugs (Pseudococcidae)

Mealybug is another well-known insect’s name. It looks like a small, pale creature.

Mealybugs and their eggs are covered with a white waxy material, some of them feature filaments that extend beyond their small bodies.

These insects are difficult to control due to wax, which helps repel pesticides. We found mealybugs in leaf axils, on the lower surfaces of leaves, and sometimes on the roots. They cause stunted and distorted growth and damage to a plant because of sooty mould fungi.

Mealybugs can even kill the plant.

How to eliminate minor infestations:

  • remove individual mealybugs by hand
  • spray with insecticidal soap
  • or wipe each bug with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol

Unfortunately, if the infestation is heavy, you may need to let the plant go.

Asian harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis)

Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis)

Asian harlequin ladybirds devastate your native and beloved ladybirds.

They were first brought to Britain in 2004 as organic pest control to restrain aphid populations.

Native ladybird populations are, however, heavily endangered by Harlequins’ eggs and hatchlings for their aggressive practices.

Fungus gnats (Sciaroidea)

Fungus gnat, EBKauai [CC BY 2.0]

We continue the list of flower insects with fungus gnats.

You can see these fly near or run across the soil surface under a plant, light also attracted them. Immature forms of fungus gnats – the whitish larvae – feed on fungi growing in the soil or decaying organic material.

Some species feed on roots, which is ultimately damaging to young plants. However, older plants may suffer too – they lose their normal healthy appearance, heavily infested plants can lose leaves. Fungus gnats can become a problem if you overwater your plant or potting soil is rich in organic matter.

How to eliminate:

  • Dry conditions kill the larva,
  • allow the soil to dry between watering
  • use products with strains of the biological control agent Bacillus thuringiensis, apply it to the soil gradually for control.

Rootball pests

Rootball

If you take your houseplants outside for summer, their root balls might get infested with slugs, millipedes, pillbugs. Ants can also make nests within the potting soil while the plant is outside.

When insects house there, they can cause damage to your garden and root systems.

How to eliminate:

  • Remove the plant container and inspect for pests, they can be just scraped away. Ant colonies can be eliminated by soil drenches of a product containing Permethrin or Cyfluthrin.
  • Pour the solution through the soil in the container.
  • Leave a pot to thoroughly drain and dry before bringing it indoors.

Spider mites

In fact, mites are related to spiders.

They are tiny, and plant damage may be the first sign of pest presence and infestation at home. With heavier infestations, you’ll see a silky web. Mites damage a plant by sucking plant sap, it leads to an overall faded look and light-coloured speckling on the upper surface of leaves. These pesky spiders can even kill a plant.

How to eliminate:

  • Spray sturdy plants with water to remove mites and break up webs.
  • You can also use insecticidal soap, an insecticide containing Sulphur, or Neem oil extract.
  • Apply the solution once a week for several weeks to get rid of mites.

Flower Insects, Last Words

We hope that the facts about insects listed in this post will help you protect your houseplants and, if desperate, consider a cravegreens pest control ultrasonic repellent. If you have a few effective and well-tried tricks to prevent insect infestation, do share in the comment section below.