Bugs & Diseases

Affecting Indoor Plants

Aphids
Aphid
Description:
Pear-shaped, soft bodied insects; can we winged or wingless. Most commonly green but can be black, dark brown, yellow, white, bronze, red or pink.

 

Damage:
Suck sap while feeding on leaves, stems or roots. Can be found on growing tips, undersides of leaves, along stems and in roots.

 

Signs
Reduction in plant vigour; wilting and distortion of plant tissue - curled, puckered or distorted growth. Excrete honeydew, a sticky fluid that can lead to sooty mold development and also attracts ants, wasps and other flies. In some cases can cause red blistering on leaves.

 

What it attacks
All indoor house plants

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Fungus Gnats
Johnny N. Dell, Bugwood.org
Description:
Small brown-black flies - similar to a fruit fly.

 

Damage:
Larvae (white maggots) can be found in the soil feeding of decomposing organic matter, occasionally will feed on young roots.

 

Signs
Considered a nuisance, rarely kill plants - infested plants are more likely to die from over watering or poor drainage.

 

What it attacks
Indoor plants

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Mealybug
Mealybug
Description:
Small, flat oval, segmented grey-white insects. Mealybugs are covered with white waxy thread.

 

Damage:
suck sap while feeding; found in masses in the crotches of the stems, look like cotton fluff.

 

Signs
Leaf yellowing and wilting; reduce plant vigour and growth; excrete honeydew, a sticky fluid that coats the leaves and stems; sooty mold and other fungi often grow on the honeydew which interfere with photosynthesis.

 

What it attacks
Indoor plants

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Scale
Scale
Description:
Brown flattened bumps along stems and leaves.

 

Damage:
Find a feeding site and become immobile sucking on plant juices.

 

Signs
Leaves become spotted or turn yellow ;excrete honeydew, a sticky fluid that coats the leaves and stems; sooty mold and other fungi often grow on the honeydew which interfere with photosynthesis.

 

What it attacks
Indoor plants

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Spider mites
Spider mites
Description:
Tiny rounded eight-legged insect.

 

Damage:
Puncture leaf and suck out both water and food producing green chlorophyll.

 

Signs
Leaves become speckled with yellow blotches; stippling and dotting on leaves; leaves may fall prematurely; fine webbing on leaves, in leaf crotches or on flower buds; reduces vigour.

 

What it attacks:
All indoor house plants

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Thrips
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources - Forestry Archive, Bugwood.org
Description:
Tiny, slender pale yellow, green or brown insects.

 

Damage:
Pierce plant cells and suck out the contents.

 

Signs
Injured tissue dies producing dead spots, distorted blooms and leaves, and balled flowers.

 

What it attacks:
Indoor plants

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Whitefly
W. Billen, Pflanzenbeschaustelle, Weil am Rhein, Bugwood.org
Description:
Small winged white insects.

 

Damage:
Suck sap while feeding on the undersides of leaves.

 

Signs
Reduction in plant vigour; stunted growth; excrete honeydew, a sticky fluid that coats the leaves and stems; sooty mold and other fungi often grow on the honeydew which interfere with photosynthesis.; can transmit viruses.

 

What it attacks
Indoor plants

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