It’s important to always keep an eye out for pests when caring for the plants so we avoid major outbreaks. The most common pests we encounter in our homes are spider mites, mealy bugs, scale, and aphids. Always isolate any infected plants, since pests tend to transfer easily and quickly.
Initially, spider mite damage will appear as small yellow or brown spots on the leaves of the plant. If the plant is badly infested, the plant's health will suffer, it may develop completely yellow leaves and it may stop growing. Spider mite damage may also include a telltale spider web type webbing on the plant.
We treat spider mites by wiping down the leaves of the plant (front and back) to physically remove the pests, then treat with Azamax or Triact which includes watering into the soil as a systemic treatment and spraying the leaves. Persistence is key here and paying attention to plants leaves when watering is of the utmost importance.
If you notice that your plant looks like it is covered with snow or leaves have some white spots, your plant is under the attack of Mealybugs.
Treat mealybugs by mixing 50% rubbing alcohol with 50% water in a spray bottle and add a drop of Dawn dish detergent. Spray the bugs down with the stream setting trying to physically remove them from the plant. You can also dip a cotton ball or swab in the solution and dab the bugs off. Keep doing this every few days until the mealybugs no longer appear. Azamax can also be used to treat mealybugs systemically or by spraying the bugs. They will begin to ‘melt’ away after a few days of persistent treatment.
Scale insects thrive in warm, dry environments. The scale bug is small, oval and flat, with a protective tan to brown shell-like covering (scale). Scale generally targets the undersides of leaves and around leaf joints. Scale-damaged plants look withered and sickly. Leaves turn yellow and may drop from the plant. They may also have sticky sap or a black fungus on the leaves and stems.
The best way to treat scale is by picking or gently scrubbing the insects off. You can also dab a cotton swab or cotton ball in a rubbing alcohol solution and use to remove if the plant is only lightly infested. Other products such as Neem oil and insecticidal soap can also be used but the key is to be persistent and continue to treat until no signs of pests occur.
Aphids attack nearly all species of plants. When leaves are attacked by aphids, damage often appears first as spotty yellow discolorations, usually on the undersides of leaves; the leaves may later dry out and wilt. Some aphid species form galls or cause distorted, curled, or deformed leaves. The worst aphid damage is often found on young plants, where large aphid populations can quickly overwhelm and kill off new starts. The plant sap consumed by aphids is not able to be entirely digested by the insects, resulting in a sugary and sticky excretion known as honeydew.
Wash them away: Use a strong stream of water to blast aphids from your plants. You can also knock them off with your fingers or a cotton swab. This is best for light infestations. Dip in water: If the plant has delicate foliage that won't tolerate spraying, you can dip the entire plant in water to dislodge the aphids. You can also treat with Azamax, Triact, Neem oil, or insecticidal soap but again the key here is to be persistent and try to physically remove the insects from the leaves.