HousePlant Pests

What are the tiny, sticky, cottony balls on houseplant leaves?

Mealy BugsSee a picture, learn to identify and treat Mealy Bugs, a houseplant pest that leaves sticky,white, cottony residue on houseplants. are one of the most annoying and destructive pests that attack houseplants. These tiny sucking insects look like small pieces of cotton. The bugs suck the sap out of a plant; they especially love the tender new growth. As the plant loses sap, leaves get spots, some turn yellow, leaves drop, stems get weak, and the plant just doesn’t grow well. While feeding on the plant they secrete a sticky substance called “honeydew” which causes another problem because it attracts “ sooty moldSooty Mold is a form of fungus that grows on the sugary honeydew secreted by aphids, scales, the whitefly, and other insects that suck the sap from plants. Sooty Mold is an unsightly black powder that can quickly coat the leaves of a plant in just a few weeks. The fungus itself doesn't really harm the plant; it just ruins the plant's appearance. Sooty Mold can be prevented by getting rid of the insects that secret the honeydew that attracts the Sooty Mold..” The mold covers leaves and stems ruining the plant’s appearance and interfering with photosynthesis. When Mealy BugsSee a picture, learn to identify and treat Mealy Bugs, a houseplant pest that leaves sticky,white, cottony residue on houseplants. are immature and crawling, use yellow sticky cardsThis small dark skinny pest flies and jumps around plants and people driving us all crazy. Fungus Gnats develop in moist potting soil, feeding on root hairs and emerging as adults every 30 days. The best way to get rid of Fungus Gnats is to allow the soil to thoroughly dry out. This eliminates the eggs and gnats in the pot. Use yellow sticky cards to trap the Fungus Gnats that are flying around. to trap them. Once they mature, spray them with the chemical free “ green solutionIf you don't want to use a commercial chemical product to treat plant pest problems try the “Green Solution.” This is a mixture of water, alcohol, biodegradable liquid soap, and mineral oil. Always test any spray on one or two leaves to be sure it won’t damage the plant. Depending upon how severe the infestation is, you can use these ingredients in varying proportions. If there are only a few pests, dip a Q-tip in alcohol and gently swab them off. For a more widespread problem, start by using a spray of warm water mixed with a few tablespoons of biodegradable soap. If that doesn’t cure the problem, make a solution using 8oz. water & 8oz. alcohol, add two tablespoons of biodegradable soap and two tablespoons of mineral oil. Spray all areas of the plant. Use this solution on leathery leafed plants (except palms), never on fuzzy leafed plants like African Violets or Begonias. For palms, omit the alcohol from the Green Solution. Never spray a plant that’s sitting in the sun or one with very dry soil.    ”; 1/2 water, 1/2 alcohol, a few squirts of a liquid biodegradable soap, and a tablespoon of mineral oil. Be sure the plant is well-watered and not in the sun when you spray. Repeat this treatment every 10 days for a month to kill any eggs that might hatch later. On furry leafed plants dip a Qtip in the Solution and wipe the bugs off individually. Do not spray the entire leaf.

Picture of Mealy BugsSee a picture, learn to identify and treat Mealy Bugs, a houseplant pest that leaves sticky,white, cottony residue on houseplants. on a Houseplant