How to Determine if Your Plant has Bugs

Views: 13723 | Last Update: 2008-07-30
Learn how to examine your house plant for bugs and other pests by check its leaves, soil and stems in this free educational video series. View Video Transcript

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John Mueller

Video Transcript

Hi, John again, with Paradise Palm, ParadisePalm.com on the behalf of expertvillage.com. I just wanted to go over quip tips on what kind of bug, pests, you might need to be aware of when you're looking at existing plants or purchasing a plant, or what you need to identify the right bug. There's generally, in our world of indoor plants, mealy bug, scale, aphids, and spider mites. You want to make sure that you've kind of identified the bugs that you might have, and certain plants are more liable to get certain bugs versus others. Very common, ficus trees, people will say, "Gee, what's this sap or what looks like dried coke or syrup on a plant. Sticky appearance or honey dew?" We don't have any bugs in our store, unfortunately, to show you. But I can say that ficus have a tendency to get scale versus other plants. If you see anything that looks like syrup or honey dew on the plant, it's a very good indication that you have scale, very common for plants such as a ficus tree. On the alternate end, if you have Dracaenas or any other plant that's perhaps not a ficus and you have a white, cottony appearance. And, again, I don't have any on these plants, but if it's a white cottony appearance, it's a good indication that you have mealy bug. If you have, more likely on a palm, what looks like webbing or small soft grains on the backside of the leaves in addition to webbing, or if you see teenie, teenie dust sized movement which would indicate that you have spider mites. You would probably not want to purchase that plant or make corrective measures. And then last, but not least, if on new growth of any given plant, whether it be a ficus tree, a Dracaena, or a palm. If you have, what looks like soft bodied grain? Very small, little bit larger than a salt grain or a sugar grain. Soft bodied or grain would indicate that you have aphids. Basically, if you have aphids, scale, mealy bug, or spider mites you'd definitely need to take care of it. I usually recommend eliminating the plant and starting over new or spraying it with a standard houseplant insecticide. But, you want to know what you have, and if you have a bug, and then only spray if you do.