Last Updated on June 12, 2023 by Real Men Sow
Indoor gardening is a popular choice because it offers many advantages over traditional outdoor gardening, such as fewer pest problems. However, this doesn’t mean those pest problems aren’t possible. Rather, they are less common and easier to manage. Pest problems that occur indoors are often the same as those that affect outdoor plants. However, indoor conditions can make treatment and prevention more difficult. These are our top tips to eliminate, control and avoid indoor garden pests in your herb gardens.
Avoid These Most Common Indoor Garden Pests
One of the most common outdoor and indoor garden pests. Aphids are tiny, pear-shaped insects that attach to plants and suck sap through tubes at the rear of their abdomens. As a result, the leaves drop and distort. Aphids secrete honeydew, which is a tiny pear-shaped insect that attaches to the plant. This causes distorted leaves and leaf drops by sucking sap through two tubes at their abdomens.
Small, thin insects that feed on the sap from garden plants. They have fringed wings and are very small. Plant leaves that have been damaged may look blotchy or pale. Then they turn silvery and die. Worse, the virus can spread to other parts of the plant when thrips eat.
Pink-coloured, soft-bodied insects are covered in a waxy, almost-cottony-like material. This fluff protects them against moisture loss and heat excess. They usually form colonies in protected areas such as the bottom of leaves and the crooks of branches. The symptoms include stunted or damaged leaf growth. This is because mealybugs inject poison into the leaves through honeydew and fluid accumulations.
Tiny sucking insects are found under leaves. They feed on fluids inside leaves and can penetrate the waxy coating to get at the internal fluids. Because spider mites can be so prolific, it is often difficult for plants to notice a large infestation. Spider mites can cause leaves to become yellowish or discoloured, as well as a spider-like web between the leaves.
Its two types are armored and soft. Both types of scales are represented by little brown bumps on leaves, with the armored scale being more common. The size of the insects can vary from 1/8 inch to 1/2 inch in length. Colour, shape and texture may vary between species. Scale infection causes leaves to wilt and drop prematurely; branches and stems can experience dieback if they are not treated.
Closely related to scales and aphids, it is often confused for tiny white mealybugs or moths. The insects are often pale and translucent in color. They are also covered with powdery white wax. They can quickly fly away from their host plants if they are disturbed, making it difficult to control them. Both adults and nymphs are sap-suckers, and they emit honeydew. The symptoms of infestation include leaf drop, yellowing and stunting.
These don’t pose a problem for plants but can be a nuisance for people living in the home. These small, dark-colored flies look similar to fruit flies. They are very inefficient flyers and will stick to the soil, especially if it is damp. Infestations that are severe can lead to infestations of insects eating root hairs and spreading pathogens into soil.
Treating Indoor Pests
This becomes a little more difficult when you have to deal with a pest problem in your indoor plants. Many gardeners quickly resort to natural predators or chemical applications to eliminate pests on their outside plants. People don’t want insecticides in their homes, so they prefer to use natural methods.
Manually Removing Insects
The best and most effective method is to manually remove or avoid indoor garden pests from plants. This is best if the infestation is not severe or if your plants have fewer or larger leaves.
Although it is time-consuming, it can be very effective. To remove large numbers of pests, you can use a pair or two of tweezers. Next, use your tweezers to reach into any crevices or nooks where the leaves attach to their stems.
It may be easier to rinse plants with many leaves or with heavy infestations with warm water from the showerhead or the kitchen sink. Be careful not to damage the plant by using a forceful stream of water. You can also turn the container upside-down, but make sure you don’t damage the potting soil. Then, soak the entire leaf in warm water and swirl it around to get rid of any insects.
Natural Treatment Options
There are natural ways to remove insects if you don’t feel like doing it manually or the infestation is too severe.
Spraying with soap solution is a safe and non-toxic way to treat problems. Mix one tablespoon of pure liquid soap to every quart of distilled or bottled water in a spray bottle. Avoid dish soaps that claim to cut grease, as they can damage the waxing layer on your plants’ leaves. Pure insecticide soaps contain fatty acids that suffocate small soft-bodied insects. They also disrupt the structure and permeability of their cellular membranes.
Rubic alcohol can be used to spot treat insects like mealybugs and scale. To ensure that the alcohol doesn’t cause damage to the leaves, test it on an inconspicuous spot first. Use a cotton swab to soak the insects in rubbing alcohol.
Chemical Treatment Options
Neem oil, a naturally occurring pesticide, is made from the pressed seeds of the neem tree. The active ingredient in the product is azadirachtin. This substance blocks hormones that help transition insects from larvae to pupa to adults. It prevents molting and stops the entire life cycle. This is why it is particularly effective for treating mealybugs and whiteflies as well as fungus gnats and thrips.
Prevention Methods to Avoid Indoor Garden Pests
You can reduce the amount of pest problems that you have to deal with by being mindful about how to prevent them. These are the best methods to prevent pest problems.
Inspect Plants Before Putting Them Indoors
This is the most effective method for preventing pest infestations in your indoor gardening. Before you buy a plant or get it from a neighbour or friend, inspect it thoroughly visually. It should be treated for any insect damage before you add it to your collection.
Ensure Good Air Circulation
Maintain good air circulation between plants. If possible, give plants space between them and their neighbours. This makes it harder for flying pests not to land on the leaves and stops insects from growing.
Do Not Over Fertilize
It is vital to provide proper nutrition for your plants. However, over-fertilizing plants can cause stress. Plants that are stressed are more vulnerable to insect attacks, especially sap-feeding pests.
Have Quarantine Areas for Infested Plants
It is important to immediately remove infected plants and quarantine them during treatment. It is important to keep pest infestation from spreading by placing it in close proximity to healthy plants.
Clean All Gardening Equipment After Each Use
No matter if you’re working with healthy plants or infected ones, it is important to sterilize and clean all tools after you have finished. This will prevent the accidental transfer of insects between plants.