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5 Insects That Can Damage Your Indoor Gardens

What Insects Can Damage My Indoor Garden?

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Indoor gardens are easy ways to enjoy the beauty and convenience of your herbs, all year round. From a row of small pots in the window, to elaborate hydroponic gardens with artificial lights, growing indoors is a hobby enjoyed by most gardeners.

Indoor gardening is not without problems. Insects are not killed off by colder temperatures, and your plants can be plagued by them all year. Most problems are readily visible, but others may show up as weak, unthrifty plants that never seem to grow. Their stunted size and faded color need a closer look.

Here are 5 insects that may bother your indoor gardens, and some remedies to help combat them.

1. WhiteFlies

Whitefly
© Eran Finkle

Often brought in from box store plants, these nearly invisible flying insects will soon take over your indoor gardens. They create a black sooty looking mold, which is a clear indication of infestation.

Get rid of these annoying whiteflies by using a soapy spray, hand picking and carefully checking any new plants that you allow in your home.

There is no plant that is safe from Whiteflies.

For more on these annoying insects, see:

2. Scale

Scale Insects
© Marie Iannotti (2008) Licensed to About.com, Inc.

Many people believe that scale is a growth on the plant, when it is actually a living creature with a hard scale type covering, making them not only unsightly but difficult to kill.

Scale can live year round on your plants, so look for any sign before bringing in new plants from a nursery or gifts from other gardeners.

Some organic controls for scale are insecticidal soaps and Pyrethrum. In our house, any plants that show signs of scale, will simply be removed as in my experience, it is difficult to get rid of.

For more information about Scale damage, see:

3. Aphids

Aphids
© mezuni

Aphids are probably surprising to find for many gardeners. They often see the results of aphids: black mildew looking marking on their plants. The actual aphids are difficult to see, they hide under the leaves and in the notches of the plant.

A simple soapy spray is a good control for aphids. A good rule of thumb is to hold your plant upside down and place your open palm over the soil, at the base of the plant and swish the plant through warm, soapy water-soaking the undersides of each leaf well. Aphids will fall into the water and any left over will be suffocated. Do this for any new plants to keep them from bringing in any unwanted insects to your established indoor garden.

For more information on Aphids, see:

4. Mealy Bugs

Mealybugs
© Eran Finkle

If you have ever seen tiny cotton buds on indoor plants, this is a commonly found insect called a mealy bug. Once you have them in your indoor garden, they are easy to kill but hard to find each one. So they seem to stick around for quite a long time once established.

MealyBugs are another reason that I suggest being ruthless in checking your new plants as they come in, and culling the infected plants as soon as possible.

Use organic Insecticidal soap or Pyrethrum on your plants to get rid of these intruders. For more information on Mealybugs:

5. Red Spider Mites

Red Spider Mites
© Eran Finkle

Red spider mites are another pest that takes advantage of the mild temperature in your home, and attack all the plants living there.

Spider mite damage is usually discovered because the plant starts to die. The mites themselves are tiny specks, and often go unseen. Severe damage will result in the plant being covered with fine, white webbing. For more information about mites:

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