The humble homoptera, plant lice, or aphid, is a common pest in indoor and outdoor gardens. Indoors, aphids are little threat to the infested plant unless the numbers grow large. Identifying and controlling aphids are simple tasks.
Aphids are a very small pest, usually measuring no more than 1/8 of an inch in their entire length. Aphids generally don't have wings, although some members of a large colony will have small wings. Aphids can come in a lot of colors, including black, red, brown and white, but most tend to be yellow or light green. Aphids have tiny, thin legs and antennae that are dwarfed by the large thorax.
Indoor plants that are being swarmed by a large colony of aphids will have areas that turn black. The aphid produces a sugar solution that will sometimes drop onto leaves, leaving a silvery, shiny solution. The drops will turn into a black fungus. If there is a lot of fungus, the plant may not be able to process sunlight normally.
Natural predators such as lady bugs, lace wings and flower flies exist, which usually keep the aphid population under control. Indoor plants will not often have these necessary predators unless it is summer and the window is open, allowing natural predators indoors. Before considering other controls, check for natural predators on the plant.
Aphids, in small numbers, are easy to remove without the use of chemical treatment. A strong blast of water over the plant will usually remove aphids. If water blasting does not work, a cotton swab dipped in water or alcohol can be wipes along terminals and leaves to remove the aphids from the plant.
Insecticide sprays should be used indoors as a last effort. Indoor aphids sprays usually come in compressed cans or in pump sprays that can be applied using a hand-held pump and wand. Make sure insecticides used indoors are meant for indoor purposes, as many can be deadly if used indoors.