Panic! Bugs on your houseplant.
Almost everyone has to deal with this; insects in your houseplant. Super annoying, and of course you want to get rid of them quickly. I too have had to deal with bugs several times.
I would like to share my experiences with you, and of course tips on how to get rid of those annoying bugs!
Let's start with the most feared kind, Thrips. The nightmare of every Greenie. Thrips is a small, thin insect with wings, and the fact that it can fly is the reason it is so feared. Thrips feeds on juices from the cells of various types of plants. An adult thrips is brown / black in color and about 1-2 mm long, I sometimes confuse them with springtails, more on this later. Females lay 2 to 5 eggs per day so you will soon have a big plague.... These larvae are orange, yellow or green in color, and about 1 mm long.
Thrips puncture cells and suck them empty. These empty cells will turn into a silver or gold color. At the bottom of the damaged leaves there are often many black dots visible, the poop of the thrips.
Adults and larvae of thrips also damage the growing points of plants. This causes deformed leaves and / or poor new growth.
I myself have had to deal with thrips several times, which is why I now treat my plants preventively. Watch this video for more info.
The moment I find thrips despite my measures I immediately order predatory mites from Biobestrijding
The Orius laevigatus is a small, flattened insect (predatory bug) about 2-3 millimeters in size. The adults focus on all moving stages of thrips. The young nymphs focus more on the thrips larvae. The Orius will constantly search for pest insects until they are no longer present. A young Orius nymph eats about 50 thrips larvae. An adult Orius female eats about 12 thrips per day under favorable conditions.
They are like fruit flies, just as irritating. But fortunately in my experience easy to control. Fungus gnats are delicate, gray-black, mosquito-like flies with long legs and a pair of clear wings. The adult gnat is about 4 to 5 mm in size. They are most found in moist, rich soils and feed on roots, fungi and other organic materials. You will therefore soon see them flying if you are suffering from root rot. Preventively I always hang yellow sticky papers, I check them regularly & if there are too many gnats stuck. I go out to investigate the possible cause. Fighting fungus gnats is easy; sometimes changing the potting soil and cutting away the rotten parts of the plant is enough. Otherwise you can always use nematodes; nematodes live in the soil and look for larvae and pupae of fungus gnats and feed on them. I get mine at Biobestrijding.
As I mentioned earlier they look very much like Thrips, the big difference is that these bugs are not necessarily harmful, they just give you a helping hand.
- How do you quickly know the difference? Springtails literally jump away from you, a thrips will not do this, they are much slower -
Springtails do not nibble at the leaves, but live of organic waste material in the soil. For example, they clear away fungi and that is quite useful. They are sometimes even added to enclosed terrariums to help digest dead leaves and make new nutrients for your plants.
But if you get a huge infestation and you run out of waste material in the ground, they can also start to nibble at the roots of your plant and then they will cause some damage.
So, if you have a huge infestation, keep reading!
I haven't found any working pesticides against springtails yet, but I know a few tricks that can help you:
- Let the soil dry out from the plant, as springtails love a moist soil.
Note; don't kill your plant while doing so....
- Give your plant clean soil and rinse both the roots and the plant well.
- Cut a potato in half and place it with the inside on top of the soil. Rinse the potato every few hours, and repeat.
Do keep in mind, this is only necessary if you have a huge plague. Otherwise, let them be :)
I have not experienced them myself (fortunately), but I can share the experience of other Greenies！
Spider mites are often found on the underside of the leaf, where they pierce holes to absorb plant nutrients. This causes brown dots on the surface of the leaf. Over time the leaf will turn yellow and fall from the plant due to lack of nutrition. If the spider mite infestation is not very widespread on the plant, remove the infected leaves, being careful not to infect the healthy leaves. It can also help to spray the plants with cold water. A common solution is to add green soap and a little bit of spiritus to the water mixture and spray the plant with it.
Hopefully my experiences will help you, should you (in the future) have to deal with bugs! If you have a specific question, leave a comment or send me a DM on Instagram