4 Pests That Damage Ornamental Plants

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All plants including ornamental plants are subjected to destructive insects. This can be a problem especially if you use ornamental plants inside your home for therapeutic and home décor purposes. The only way to deal with such insects is by learning how to identify them and know which type of treatment can be used against them. Always remember that treating a plant early can save it completely compared to delayed treatment. Here are four common pests that are known to damage ornamental plants inside and outside homes.

Aphids

Aphids are known to feed on rose bushes and ornamental plants by sucking them causing the plant leaves to curl, yellow off and then fall off. These insects are identified by their orange to black bodies measuring between 1/16 and 1/8 inch in length. They can often be found living and feeding underneath the leaves and stems of plants. Since aphids can transmit plant diseases, pest control is essential. The presence of ants must be controlled as they help spread aphids since they feed on the excretion. Treating aphid infested plants is easy with the help of insecticidal soap spray which quickly penetrates their soft bodies.

Mealybugs

Identified as small and soft bodied insects that are white and fuzzy, mealybugs can infest an array of plants, mostly located in warm and humid climates. Once they cover a plant stem and excrete honeydew, they can cause the plant to develop sooty mold which is a fungal disease. This can lead to yellowing leaves and stunted growth. Like other plant pests, controlling the insect will also mean having to control the presence of ants on the plant. You can spray insecticidal soap on the plant to get rid of mealybugs or simply introduce ladybugs to control them.

Scale Insects

There are more than 400 species of scale insects in the United States, but there are only two scale types that these insects feature – soft bodied and armored scales. They can be distinguished by their colors which seem to look like all the colors of the rainbow, and they measure between 1/16 and 1/8 inch. Sometimes identifying these insects can be complicated because their body shapes vary from oval to circular and pear shaped to oblong. They damage plants by feeding on the juice of plants which can lead to a growth halt if the infestation is not treated immediately. In order to treat plants infested with scale insects, ants must be controlled because they can carry scale insects onto plants. Plants can also be sprayed with a combination of insecticidal soap spray and canola oil, until all the insects are killed.

Spider Mites

Indoor and outdoor ornamental plants can be attacked by spider mites. They are related to the spider family and so can be identified by their red, yellow, green or brown bodies and the web weaved onto plants which are more noticeable. Spider mites can cause the leaves of plants to become discolored and flecked to almost burned, that then drop off until the entire plant dies. Though insecticides can be used to control this insect, the use of ladybugs and other natural enemies are considered safe, efficient and eco-friendly.

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Valerie Oliver is a freelance writer specializing in natural pest control methods. She regularly contributes articles to http://www.affordablepest.com where reliable and well experienced professionals can be consulted.

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