Pests (Things That Bite) Soft Body
When it comes to getting rid of pests and diseases, remember that none of the thousands of chemical preparations sold to gardeners is safe. All are intended to kill something, In doing that, some may damage the plants themselves, or harm animals or humans.
Are you interested in a more natural way of getting rid of soft body pests? The simplest and the most successful is made up of products you already have in your house. Here is the formula I personally use for my own plants as well as the plants in the nursery. If you don't already have purchase a large spray bottle. Take about one tablespoon of dish washing liquid (Do not use Dawn. This product does more harm than good) and pour into your spray bottle. Next, add water to the top. Take your plant to the sink, bathtub, or outside. With your spray bottle, spray the plants top leaves as well as the underside. Make sure you get the stems as well. You can also rub the leaves just like you are washing your own hair. Leave the soap on. Do not rinse the soap off. Once the soap is dry the soap will dry out any soft body pest. For preventative purpose, do this as often as once to twice a month.
Soft Body Pests
One of the most common and most frustrating insect is the aphid. It has been estimated that one aphid is capable of producing ten million offspring in three months.
Symptoms: It is hard to miss the clusters of green, black, brown or yellow squashy insects busily sucking the sap from the tender growth of the plant, leaves, buds or flowers. Ants may be present, feeding on the insects' honeydew, which also encourages the growth of sooty mold.
Treatment: Spray with soapy water for a more natural killer and deterrent. For chemical use malathion or cythion it it is a bad infestation. Watch carefully that no aphids have escaped to recolonize. Some aphids attack roots and these are hard to spot until it is too late to save the plant. However, if you suspect an attack use a systemic insecticide.
Red Spider Mites
These pests are so small that only a plague of them become obvious. They flourish in a hot, dry room and given these conditions almost every plant should be considered at risk.
Symptoms: Tiny, straggley webs and whitish powder (the skins of dead mites or shedding) on the leaves are convincing signs of their presence. But by then the mites will have been voraciously sucking the sap and the leaves will be speckled with yellow spots and starting to fall.
Treatment: Spray with soapy water and keep repeating the treatment for several days till the eggs have hatched and died. If infestation is too bad a malathion or cythion spray might be more effective. Caution! The plant may be already too weak to use these products. Try first the soapy water treatment before using any chemicals.
Related to scale insects, these pests are not as successful in concealing themselves because of their white waxy covering.
Symptoms: The appearance of white fluff on the stems and leaves is the first sign of an attack. This is the coating around the bugs. They reproduce rapidly and soon the mass sap-sucking makes the leaves turn yellow, wilt and fall. Their honeydew is a breeding ground for fungal diseases.
Treatment: Spray with soapy water and keep repeating the treatment for several days till the eggs have hatched and died. If infestation is too bad a spray of malathion or cythion may be more effective.Attacks by mealy bugs at root leavel are harder to detect, but if sympooms suggest an infestation turn the plant out of the pot. Look for the presence of masses of white eggs and bugs. Use a systemic insecticide.