Sunday, February 03, 2008

Aphid Invasion! (Or, how I murdered Betty)

If houseplant bugs were this cute, I probably wouldn't mind...
For years, I've suffered from an affliction called Dirty Girl Syndrome. That phrase might get me a whole bunch of inappropriate search engine rankings and that's okay 'cause I always wish more people would visit my blog.

What I mean is I'm kind of a slob.

I never dust, I never mop. I never do much of anything. Nudist colonies look pretty good to me 'cause I absolutely hate to do the laundry.

I'm just as lazy when it comes to the bugs hatching in the window garden.
Only the cutest little buggers show their faces. Ugly bugs hide on the under side of plant leaves.

It all started when I was watering plants this morning and discovered that my beloved Betty had kicked the bucket.

Betty, that hard working Venus Flytrap, had eaten herself right into the sweet hereafter because of all the bugs infesting my houseplants.

If I was a better friend, I'd have brought in reinforcements like the Pitcher Plant (right photo.) Pitcher likes to munch on creepy crawlies, too.

The best way to control indoor plant bugs is to consistently spray so they can't breed an army. Try a mixture of 1 tbs. dishwashing liquid in a gallon of water.*

If you have let the situation get completely out of control, write to me. We're destined to become good friends! When bugs are everywhere try setting plants in the shower and give them a good, warm spray.

- Aphids: Persistent little green, brown, black bugs that collect on new plant growth.
- Mealy Bugs: White fluffy stuff collecting on plant stems. (photo)
- Scale: Hard brown shell hides a despicable character inside.
- Spider Mites: Little spider webs appear on flowers and leaves.

If you can't beat 'em... eat 'em!

Chocolate covered bugs from Amazon. Cooking with creepy crawlies.

* There are lots of chemical bug pesticides but some can also kill your cat.
* Leave your scale problem to the pros. Lady Bugs make short work of scale when plants are set outdoors.
* Cuties: Pixar It's a Bug's Life movie.


Mark Chipkin said...

I use a small amount of olive oil in my mixture to control aphids on my TickleMe Plants. It coats the aphids a bit more. I use a Q Tip.
The tickleme plants still move their leaves and lower their branches when I tickle them.
They are not carnivourous like the venus fly trap.
Thank you for the post!

Anonymous said...

One thing that has worked for me is rubbing alcohol. This is impractical on a large scale, but works for mealy bugs if you have just a few plants. Use a Q-tip drenched in it and rub the bugs off weekly for a month or so. If you are very thorough and get all the crevices etc it does the trick.