Pests (Things That Bite) Part 2
Hard Body Pests
I will only list one hard body pest because it is the most common of all the hard body pests.
These are pernicious little sucking insects that are hard to detect which haunt the underside of the leaves. The young start out as a soft body insect and the harden when they become adults.
By a preventative solution of soapy water once to twice a month will help control all pests even the hard body pests that are the hardest to kill.
Symptoms: Yellow spots on leaves. The whole leaf may yellow and fall off. Growth is stunted, Young scales are translucent and hard to see, but they can be seen and felt as immobile colonies of the build up. Sooty black mold may be found growing on their excrement, which is called honeydew. Adults are more noticeable. They turn black and usually hang out on the stems of plants while their children hang out on the leaves.
Treatment: If you catch them early the insects can be scraped off with a thumbnail. Then wash around the area where the scales were with soapy water, to dislodge any eggs or young. If the insects are well established, spraying with malathion or cythion will kill the young scales which have not grown protective shell. To kill mature scales apply a systemic insecticide powder to the compost.
Not All Insects Are Bad
We always feel we need to get rid of all insects from our dear little plants. But not all insects are bad to a point.
Certainly not a pest. Worms are among the outdoor gardener's best friend because of their role in aerating and fertilizing the soil. Indoors in a pot maybe a nuisance, but there is no reason why they should be. But if you feel you need to get rid of them by all means do so.
Treatment: Remove the plant from the pot and if you see any worms in the compost pick them off and leave them in the garden to do their good work there.