Indoor Infestation

When I packed up and left the house for 4-5 months, I moved most of the house plants outside. Two were too big to be moved: a large jade and a bamboo palm. When I got home, they were both suffering under an onslaught of pests. As near as I can tell, there are 3 or 4 distinct nasties suckling from my plants.

Above is the jade plant with some weird, fuzzy white bug (wooly aphid?).

This is a palm frond with at least 2 different kinds of creepy little things on it: the white, fluffy one and a brown lumpy one (multiple varieties of aphids?).

This poor birds nest fern which shares a pot with the jade plant is under attack from all and sundry (a plethora of aphids?).

On the far left is an out-of-focus picture of a variety of critters on the birds nest fern. On the right is a scale invasion on the bamboo palms.

I really don’t know what all these things are, but I didn’t like any of them. My strategy was simple – mass murder followed by preventative medicine. I prepared a bowl of water with a bit of dish soap and vegetable oil in it and I used that to wash off all the leaves. Or most of the leaves anyway. The jade plant is kind of tricky as washing too thoroughly tends to make the leaves drop off. With the scale I had to resort to scraping the plants with my fingernails (eeewww). After the washing (and believe me, millions of little bugs died in the process) I sprayed the plants in a clean mix of water, soap and oil. I’ve heard that these kinds of icky bugs breathe through their skin and the oil will smother them. Fingers crossed.

I then washed the floor. Luckily I have polished floor boards because the floor around the plants was really stick. The aphids excrete honeydew and it obviously dropped EVERYWHERE!

I fully expect to repeat this process several times before I get the upper hand. But I’ve made a pretty good start.


About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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