Gardeners are already well aware of the fact that creepy-crawlies of various species are attracted to the rich variety of plant life that exists within many residential garden beds. However, few people consider how placing potted plants indoors may be putting their home at risk of becoming infested with insect pests. Indoor insect pest issues can arise during any time of year in Louisiana, but the late fall, winter and early spring see the greatest number of insect pests gravitating into homes in order to feed or nest on indoor plants.
Insect infestations that gravitate toward indoor plant life can be even worse than the insect infestations that plague outdoor gardens, as indoor locations are warm all year round and indoor environments are lacking in the insect predators that normally keep pest populations in check. This can cause indoor insect infestations to grow dramatically in size, especially if the insect pest in question is capable of surviving in its larval form within a particular plant’s soil, stems or leaves.
Most homeowners who own indoor plants prefer to place them side-by-side near windows where they can receive adequate amounts of sunlight. While having a variety of different plant species adorning your sunroom may be pleasing to the eye, such arrangements allow insect pests to move from plant to plant with ease, and they usually have no problem surviving due to the relatively natural conditions of indoor plant collections in rooms that receive adequate amounts of sunlight. The better nourished the plants, the better nourished the insect pests inhabiting them.
The three most common insect pests that infest indoor plants in Louisiana include scale insects, mealybugs and spider mites. All three of these insects are very small in size, but mealybugs typically gather into large clusters. Mealybugs can be recognized by the white cottony mass that they form as groups along a plant’s stem or beneath leaves. Like mealybugs, scales also suck the sap from plants, but they look very different, as the waxy exterior of scales makes them difficult to notice on indoor plants. Unlike most arachnids, which benefit plant health by killing off pests, spider mites cause plants to gradually wilt. These arachnids are so tiny that they cannot be readily seen by the naked eye, but initial spider mite damage to a plant takes the form of wilting leaves that dull in color. Spider mite infestations are difficult to control and eradicate, but making sure not to handle healthy plants after handling infested plants will go a long way to prevent infestations in your home, as this is how most infestations to indoor plant life begin.
Have you ever found insects inhabiting your indoor plant pots?
Tags: pest control