Common house plant pests
Aphids, spider mites and
scale insects are the most common and
damaging insect pests on house plants. All three
damage plants when they feed on plant sap.
Aphids may also infect plants with plant
pathogens or inject plant toxins that cause
growth deformities such as twisting of new
growth and stunting (see What
are Aphids?, What
are Spider Mites?, and What
are Scale Insects? for more information).
The most important step in control of
these pests is early detection. Check
plants often and treat as soon as pests are
found. Scout for aphids along stems,
especially at the tips, flower buds, and leaves.
Cast "skins" and sticky honeydew are
early indicators of an aphid infestation. Look
for spider mites also on the undersides of
leaves. Use your hand lens to carefully
search a few leaves on each plant.
As you gain experience you'll learn
which of your house plants are more susceptible
so you can concentrate on these in the future.
Look for scale insects along the stems and
leaves. Scales are generally larger than spider
mites (except the crawler stage) and should be
easier to find.