Handy Pest Management
House plants occasionally suffer attacks from insect pests. A small population of insects is normal. If we could spend more time up close with our plants, we would notice the presence of insects long before they end up causing problems. These insects, usually aphids, scale, mealy bug or spider mites, are often living in very small populations on one or two of your house plants. They go on living unnoticed until one day the house temperature goes up. Then suddenly you notice the insects spreading over most of your plants. The reason for this is that when temperatures rise so does the rate at which insects multiply. Our houses are kept in a perfect range for insects to multiply 22 deg C or more in the day and 18 deg C at night. These temperatures will cause an out break for sure. Outside the day temperatures are high for sure but in our climate (Canada) the nights are typically between 7 and 15 deg C. These cooler temperatures at night slows the multiplying effect and even stops it during the nights. This effectively cuts the reproduction down by close to half compared to indoors. Plus outside there are always a population of predator insects looking to snack on these bugs we hate.
One thing about these common house plant insect pests is that their bodies are extremely delicate. If you try to touch one very lightly with your fingertip you will find it will pop like a tiny water balloon. You can use this light touch to reduce the populations of insects on your house plants. Run your fingers lightly over all the surfaces of your plants leaves. This will kill any unwanted critters you come in contact with. It also heightens your awareness of your plant’s health. If large populations are found, you can use a soft damp cloth to wipe them off the leaves or branches. Be gentle with the cloth as it could damage leaves if too much pressure is applied. Whether using light touch or the cloth you should support the leaf with one hand while touching with the other. If you use this light touch over the surfaces of your plant leaves every time you water, you can effectively keep all your insects easily at bay without the use of chemical sprays. This technique is used on plants with leaves at least on inch long and is more practical on large leaf plants. I do this to all my house plants, and it works very well.
Good luck in your garden in 2022!