From an earlier Aphid post, I commented on the other lovely critters in my apartment who are not paying rent.
Mice: I simply told them to leave. That they aren’t welcome in this part of the house. It is warm outside! And I’m not afraid to invite a cat over. I spritzed peppermint-eucalyptus on some paper towel scraps and placed them on the floor near potential mouse runways. Considering that he was spotted twice after applying, I’d say Peppermint needs a much more vigorous practice. I’ve heard it works, but in high doses and with very accurate placement.
I believe some of the bugs were hibernating on my indoor/outdoor plants all winter; sleeping since I accidentally brought them inside during Autumn. The following information was gathered from Gardener’s Supply. Their website has tons of Gardening Articles and information on natural house-hold helpers, like pest control and prevention! I’ve added their website to the ‘Links from Posts’ bar on the left.
Spider Mites: The leaves of your plant will be polka-dotted and brown. The mites look like miniature spiders and will create webs across the plant. The underside of the leaf is where they lay their eggs. Mites are not actual spiders. They prefer hot and dry micro-climates. To eradicate, you can use oil (like neem), soap (castile) or a water spray. Keeping the plant cool and moist will drive the bugs off.
Mealybugs: A plant being attacked will get yellow leaves and may develop a black fungus/mold growing on the bug’s sweet excretions. You may also see a cottony egg sac or a grainy, dusty texture clumped in a leaf fold. Rid mealybugs with oil (like a neem spray), soap (like a castile soap spray), or a water rinse.
Thrips: You will find them near the new growth on your plant. They leave behind black oily droppings. You shake your plant over white paper to see if you’ve got them, or use a sticky trap. Remove with oil spritz, soap wash, or water rinse.
WATER SPRITZER a mini-experiment
Here’s what I’ve done – – –
Realizing that all my plant’s invaders could be removed with mere water, I’ve decided to thoroughly test that theory. The bugs are present and I have begun spraying. I spritz the top and bottom of each leaf until shiny. If I can see the bugs, I spray right at them! I try to avoid spritzing the bugs off of the one plant and on to another, so I spray away towards the ground. This is how nature cures bug infestations, so really I am mocking the plant’s outdoor environment. Also, this method could prove to be QUITE cost-effective. Though maybe labor intensive…
The Experiment – –
Will a daily water spritz rid an infested house plant of its attackers – mites, mealies, and thrips?
Recipe & Application – –
Fill a spray bottle with water, spritz the top and bottom of each leaf on the infected plant. Spray down and away.
Very simple. Very inexpensive. And very enjoyable! Being able to spritz my plants with water everyday satisfies my need for interaction, without smothering the dear things.
Updates – –
It’s been two weeks of every day spraying and I am tempted to get the Neem out! I am keeping populations down but they are surviving the water mist and coming back, spreading to new plants in the house. Luckily it is almost warm enough outside to just move the plants out for the summer.
I think the one part of my Mock-Nature that I am missing is a food source the bugs are ALLOWED to eat. I am trying to keep them away from all of the plants at once, whereas in Nature they would do fine eating little bits of many plants and thus never (hopefully) harm anyone. But who will I let them live on…?
The water experiment managed to keep the plants alive until it was warm enough for them to venture outdoors. So all-in-all I would say this experiment was a success for the plants listed below, but may need some tweaking were it the beginning or middle of Winter. There is a caution to be said about watering too much, don’t let the soil stay soggy, just mist the leaves.
The Thai Basil keeps flowering, so I decided to make a Flower Essence with her: The Sage enjoyed the misting very much so, and the bugs went away. I am no longer misting her so she can get her “low-humidity” leaves on: The Ivy…oh the poor Ivy. It actually has scale, which seems like a real pain to get rid of. So I will probably take a cutting at the end of the summer and try again.
The rest of the house is clear of bugs, and without the use of nasty chemicals! YAY!