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Let's Talk Bugs - all you need to know

General info:

As with any hobby that brings a lot of joy – there’s also a practical side to plant keeping. 

Previously we have covered care tips, re-potting, fertilising, and seasonal maintenance, now it’ s time for us to tackle the elephant in the room – pests.

Even though many of us are afraid of getting pests, it’s important to realise and accept that they are a part of nature – If we bring nature in our home, we need to be prepared to bring both the good and the bad. 

In nature, there’ s a balance to everything – there are beneficial insects and there are the bad ones. However, when a plant resides in our homes – the beneficial pests are not part of the environment (e.g. ladybugs).

There are many ways for pests to enter our homes and not all of them are in within our control – but fear not, we are all in this together and in this series we will share the best practice on how to identify, manage and irradicate any unwanted guests that negatively affect your plants appearance and health. 

How do plants get infected?

  • Plants arrive from nurseries with dormant pests that wake up in warm, humid climate within the first 4-6 weeks
  • In the summer season pests get in through open windows (thrips can get in even through closed windows by squeezing in through the rubber trailing – they’re THAT small)
  • Cut flowers from shops & farmer markets are often infested 
  • Fruits & veggies brought from shops/market often have mealy bugs
  • Velvety or fuzzy leaves, dry climate, stagnant air flow are all beneficial factors to facilitate and environment where pests produce

Signs of pest infestation:

  • Change of leaf colour, texture, shape
  • Some insects secrete a substance making leaves unusually shiny and sticky
  • Look for insects lurking beneath leaves or on the stems, near new growth

Types of common pests: (will review each in-depth weekly)

  • Scale
  • Mealy bug
  • Thrips
  • Aphids
  • Spider mites
  • Fungus gnats

General maintenance:

  • ALWAYS quarantine new plants for at least 6 weeks
  • Regularly clean the leaves 
  • Inspect your plant for any signs discussed above

 

Written by @augiem_buut