How To Kill Insects On Houseplants

These are the tiniest, pearshape insects that you have undoubtedly seen in the vegetable patch outside. They can be found on indoor plants as well, and they tend to congregate around developing leaves and flower buds. They produce a gooey fluid known as honeydew after sucking the plant’s sap.

Remove any areas of the plant that are seriously affected to get rid of the bugs. Use a damp cloth to remove insects from other places, or use the bathtub to spray them with water. A cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol, vegetable oil, or insecticidal soap can also be used to remove them. Weekly removal should continue until they are gone.

How can bugs be eliminated without destroying plants?

According to Jeff Gillman, author of “The Truth About Garden Remedies: What Works, What Doesn’t, and Why,” commercial insecticidal soaps are safer for plants than homemade equivalents. Keep it mild if you want to try producing your own. 2 teaspoons of liquid dishwashing soap combined with 1 quart of water yields a 1 percent soap solution. Use a mild dish soap made for hand-washing dishes, not laundry or dishwasher detergent. Aphids, mealybugs, mites, and other soft-bodied pests respond well to soap spray. Additionally, Gillman adds that dish soap aids in preventing powdery mildew.

What types of insects destroy houseplants?

Aphids are small green, yellow, or white insects that feed on your plants’ stems and leaves, progressively killing them. They may not be as prevalent as some other pests, but they are highly persistent and spread quickly, making them challenging to get rid of once established.

Fortunately, aphids have a delicate body and are simple to kill. Start by giving your plant a good rinse with a hose, shower, or sink sprayer. The vast majority of adult aphids on your plant will be eliminated as a result. Then, regularly mist with neem oil or an insecticidal soap. Additionally, you can dispense systemic grains into the impacted planters. For up to two months, the granules will help destroy any aphids that are already present and stop them from returning.

Continue spraying and checking your plant frequently for an additional week or two after you think the aphids are gone. Kill every last egg or you’ll find yourself starting over in a few days.


Small, brown, flat bugs called scales steadily weaken your houseplants by suckling the sap from their stems and leaves. Because the adults have tough shells, it is challenging to destroy them with insecticidal soap or a burst of water.

One generation at a time is the most effective strategy to address scalability. Remove any branches or stems that are dead or damaged first. Afterward, using a fingernail, brush, or even a blade, gently scrape off all of the adult scales that are still visible. You prevent them from returning or laying further eggs, make sure to shatter them before getting rid of them. To finish, use insecticidal soap or neem oil to kill eggs and young scales before they form their hard shells. Consistency is crucial when dealing with plant pests, so make sure to check daily for new adults that need to be scraped off.

Spider Mites

Unfortunately, spider mites may be the cause if you ever notice what appear to be cobwebs all over your plants. Spider mites are incredibly tiny insects that feed on the sap of stems and leaves and then create a visible web in their wake.

Spider mite treatment can really try your patience. To start, rinse or wipe all leaves to get rid of any apparent mites and spiderwebs. Check the underside of leaves with great care because mites frequently start their webs there because of the curled edges of the leaves. Then, whenever you notice new webs, wipe them away or spray the plant down with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Early detection of the infestation is crucial to controlling the spider mite problem. Although spider mites can be removed from plants with brittle or yellowing leaves, your best chance of success is to detect them as soon as their webs form.


White, fluffy insects known as mealybugs are closely linked to scales. They suck on stem joints like scales do, gradually weakening them. Mealybugs are perhaps one of the most difficult plant pests to get rid of.

To try to rescue the plant, it is better to take off the entire stem they are feeding on if you catch them early. Spray the entire plant down first with water and then with insecticidal soap or neem oil after clipping off any affected stems or branches. Till the infestation is eliminated, keep up this procedure. If you notice any fresh eggs on your plant (little white balls), you can kill them with alcohol on a cotton swab before wiping them off.

To lessen and stop infestations, systemic granules can be added to the plant’s soil. The granules can stop new infestations for up to two months by killing existing mealybugs and their eggs.

If you’re just learning how to get rid of insects on indoor plants, mealybugs could go undetected until you have a serious infestation. Mealybugs can move between leaves and infest other plants in similar situations, therefore it’s usually advisable to remove the plant to stop the infestation from spreading.

Fungus Gnats

Due to the fact that many people mistake them for typical fruit flies, these pests can be challenging to identify. Fruit flies are generally found in the kitchen around produce, as their names imply, and they are typically a lighter shade of brown than fungus gnats.

The soil of indoor plants frequently contains fungus gnats, especially in damp, humid areas like the bathroom. They have pretty broad wings and are dark grey or black, however they don’t fly very well. Despite the fact that they can attack any plant, they are most frequently found on indoor flowering plants like poinsettias and African violets. Additionally, they pose a threat to cuttings and young plants.

Fortunately, fungus gnats are extremely simple to get rid of. Start by reducing watering as much as your plant will tolerate. Dry soil kills larvae and discourages the laying of fresh eggs. After that, place sticky traps in each plant’s soil. These will gather all adult fungus gnats and stop them from laying eggs. You may all mix systemic granules into the soil of the plant to aid your sticky traps in handling a severe infestation. The eggs and live fungus gnats will die as a result, and they won’t hatch again for a few months.

Consider planting again in new soil after the gnats are under control to get rid of the last few eggs.

Why are the bugs on my house plants there?

I’ll address some of the most frequent inquiries I receive about fungus gnat control in houseplant soil in this section. Ask your query in the comments section if you can’t find the solution here.

Will treating the soil with hydrogen peroxide kill fungus gnats?

Hydrogen peroxide application to the soil may be effective in eliminating fungus gnats. Try moistening the top inch of the soil with a solution made by combining 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 4 parts water.

Pouring or spraying it on top are both acceptable options. Remember that the adult gnats that are flying around won’t be killed by this; only the larvae that are dwelling in the soil will.

Controlling the amount of water you provide indoor plants is the most crucial thing to keep in mind while trying to get rid of fungus gnats.

Keep in mind that fungus gnats like damp soil to breed, and that overwatering is the leading source of gnat infestations in indoor plants.

Even if you are successful in getting rid of a fungus gnat infestation in your home, further issues are challenging to stop. Fungus gnats are one of the houseplant pests that are easiest to manage, which is excellent news.

Check out my eBook on houseplant pest control if pests are driving you mad and you want to learn how to permanently get rid of plant bugs. You will learn how to recognize common houseplant pests and kill them effectively before they harm your prized plants. Get your copy now to permanently get rid of bugs on indoor plants!

Does vinegar eliminate plant pests?

In a DIY soap spray, white vinegar kills insects on plants. In a spray bottle, combine 1 cup vinegar, 3 cups water, and 1 teaspoon dish soap. To get rid of pests, spray it on plants, especially trees and bushes.

How can indoor plant pests be avoided?

Pests that affect houseplants are a pain, and it seems like they appear much more frequently in the winter. This is due to the fact that our plants are weaker than they were at the height of summer, growing more slowly, and receiving less light.

Keeping your plants as healthy as you can is the best defense. Here are 9 suggestions for keeping pests away from indoor plants.

1) Avoid overwatering your indoor plants. For fungus gnats, moist soil that persists for a long time is the ideal habitat. These bothersome little insects, which are sometimes mistaken for fruit flies, won’t actually hurt your plants. However, they are unpleasant to look at and exceedingly distracting. Since their eggs and larvae cannot live in dry soil, you should wait to water your plants again until the earth is completely dry on top. Yellow sticky traps can also be used to catch as many adults as you can.

2) Check indoor plants frequently for pest activity. Winter months present a special insect risk for indoor plants, making caution even more crucial. In the winter, you might not need to water every plant once a week, but it’s still a good idea to pay close attention to your plants. Check in particular the areas where limbs meet the main stem and the undersides of leaves. Look for tiny spots on the leaves (various pests), fuzzy white lumps (mealybugs), spider webs (spider mites), or groups of small, firm bumps (scale). If you discover pest activity, you should quarantine the impacted plants right once and start treating the infestation right away. Look for wilting, mold or fungus forming on the soil, and leaves that are yellowing or have spots.

3) Place any fresh plants you bring home in quarantine to stop the spread of any pests. Okay, we get that occasionally you just can’t help but bring home a brand-new houseplant baby from the garden center. We have similar traits! Just remember to exercise caution when introducing new plants. Put them in quarantine for at least two weeks, ideally in a room without any other plants. Every few days, check them for pest activity.

4) Make sure there is adequate airflow for your indoor plants. Numerous bugs find stagnant air that is not moving to be a perfect habitat. In rooms with lots of plants, it’s a good idea to have a fan on to keep the air moving and help ward off bugs and mold.

5) Wash your plants every so often. A good spray down of all the leaves, tops and bottoms, stems, and the pot can help keep pests at bay. Giving your plants a shower with lukewarm water, whether in the sink or the shower itself, accomplishes two goals.

6) Clean and disinfect pots before adding fresh plants to them. When you are repotting, avoid moving plants into unclean containers. Make it a practice to either wash and bleach pots whenever you remove a plant from them or to make sure you have done so before you begin repotting your plant.

7) Increase the humidity, but only slightly. The majority of houseplants require between 40 and 60 percent humidity. The air in your home may become quite dry throughout the winter. If it does, think about placing a humidifier next to your indoor plants.

8) Remove any organic materials that is resting on top of the soil and clean up any fallen leaves. Pests thrive in conditions where damp leaves are lying on the ground.

9) The most crucial advice is to maintain the health of your plants, as robust and healthy plants are less likely to suffer from insect infestations. Look to see if your plants are:

  • Having sufficient light
  • During the growth season, receiving fertilizer
  • in a saucepan of the proper size
  • high-quality, draining potting soil was used for the planting
  • Watered only when necessary.

Owning indoor plants nearly guarantees that you will experience a pest infestation at some point. However, you should be able to avoid pests on indoor plants if you try to keep your plants happy and healthy.

How can I keep pests away from my plants?

Early spring, when plants are putting out new growth, is when aphids are most prevalent. The fragile, juicy new growth is a favorite food of these sucking insects.

Having aphid attacks? Slugged by snails? In your garden, often the smallest bugs can cause the biggest harm. However, you don’t need to use chemical pesticides to deter, if not outright evict, bugs, slugs, and other minor garden pests. Naturally, the following are some tried-and-true methods to keep them out:

  • Growing healthy, disease-free plants that are more difficult for pests to attack and are better able to endure the occasional attack is the surest approach to keep garden insects at away. Check leaves frequently for damage or discolouration, then cut off, deadhead, or remove any unhealthy plants or leaves. Healthy, nutrient-rich soil and appropriate watering according to your plant’s needs will also help maintain your plants healthy. Maintain management of weeds because they might serve as a shelter for pests.
  • Make ‘Em Prey: Attracting bugs’ natural predators to your garden is a terrific strategy to keep them at bay. Depending on the kind of bug you’re dealing with, your strategy could change. For instance, wasps, ladybugs, and lacewings feed on aphids, popularly known as “plant lice,” whereas ground-dwelling slugs are afraid of ground beetles, lizards, toads, and snakes. Find out how to draw the kinds of animals that can solve your pest problem for you!
  • Unsafe Passage: The surrounding area is a sharp, perilous place because creeping pests like slugs, snails, and caterpillars approach your plants from there. Place broken eggshells beneath the desired plants to deter pesky crawlies.
  • Make A Stink: A variety of fragrant herbs, including yarrow, citronella, mint, fennel, catnip, basil, and lemongrass, are effective natural pest repellents for garden pests, such as aphids and potato bugs. Additionally, some of these herbs draw the predators that keep pests in check.
  • Decide on Your Poison: Beer, flour, and salt are all entirely harmless for humans but can be extremely harmful to slugs, snails, and insects.