How to Kill Little Bugs on House Plants


Houseplants add a special touch to a room, but if their leaves turn yellow or start dropping off, you know there is a problem. Spider mites, aphids, mealybugs, scales and whitefly are just some of the small insects that enjoy houseplants. You may think they are hard to get rid of, but fortunately there are some ways to kill little bugs on houseplants that will help keep infestations under control.

Step 1

Inspect your houseplants for signs of infestation while watering them. A change in appearance, such as yellow sticky leaves, small fine webs, or a white substance that looks like small specs of cotton, are all signs that bugs may be present.

Step 2

Remove leaves or flowers that bugs are found on. If only a few bugs are discovered during your inspection, you may simply remove the infected leaves or flowers and place them in a container of soapy water to dispose of the unwanted insects.

Step 3

Spray the plant with water. Place the houseplant in the kitchen sink and gently use the sprayer to wash the bugs away. Make sure to wash the bottom portion of leaves to get any bugs that may be attached underneath.

Step 4

Use soap and water. If the plant will not fit into the sink and cannot be taken outside, fill a spray bottle with a couple of tablespoons of mild dish liquid and spray directly onto the plant.

Step 5

Spray infestations with an insecticidal soap. Malathion and diazinon are two insecticides available for use on most types of houseplant infestations, with the exception of spider mites. You will need a separate product that works specifically on spider mites. Read and follow the manufacturer's instructions on the label before use.

Things You'll Need

  • Mild dish liquid
  • Insecticidal soap


  • The Garden Helper: Insects, Bugs and Pests That May Infest Your Plants
Keywords: houseplants, house plants, indoor plants

About this Author

Kate Hornsby has been a professional pet sitter for a number of years and a small business owner for over twenty. She is the current Atlanta Pets Examiner and has written several articles on pet care and operating a small business. Hornsby attended the Academy of Art online, studying Interior Architecture and Design while pursuing commercial flight training at Aviation Atlanta in Georgia.