One of the prominent problems that houseplants have is bug infestation. Bugs or pests are nutrient-sucking insects that damage the houseplants and cause issues like wilting and yellowing leaves. But do arrowhead plants get bugs? Let’s find out.
Arrowhead plants will attract bugs if you keep them in unfavorable living conditions. Bugs like spider mites will infest your Syngonium if you don’t give it enough water or humidity. Whereas mealybugs, scales, or aphids will get attracted to an overwatered arrowhead plant.
You must try to maintain a healthy plant by providing the right living conditions to the plant. Bugs will never attack a healthy Syngonium.
If you notice any bugs or pests on your arrowhead plant, you must take action fast and try to remove them. If you get too late, the pests will take over the plant, and you might not be able to save it.
This article will discuss different bugs that attack an arrowhead plant and how you can identify them and remove them before it is too late.
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Common bugs on arrowhead plants
If you notice that your Syngonium looks weak and dull, you should check the plant thoroughly.
Check all the parts as pests often hide on the undersides of leaves.
If you find tiny bugs crawling on your Syngonium, you know it has a pest infestation.
Spider mites will attack your arrowhead plant if it is not getting enough water or enough humidity.
Spider mites thrive in dry environments and make your plant weak by sucking the sap from it.
Spider mites look like spiders, and you can find them in different colors.
Spider mites are very tiny, and you might need a magnifying glass to detect them.
But you can identify spider mites by the web-like structures you find all over your Syngonium.
When looking for spider mites, search the roots, foliage, stems, and soil as they can be found everywhere.
These bugs pierce the leaves make them discolored.
Spider mites spread fast, so you should act fast whenever you notice them on your arrowhead plant.
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Aphids are mostly attracted to moist environments, so if you have overwatered or not given proper light to your arrowhead plant, aphids will get attracted to it.
Aphids are tiny oval-shaped pests with a size of 2 mm.
Aphids come in different colors, such as red, yellow, brown, and black, and are seen in groups on the undersides of leaves.
Therefore, you must check your Syngonium thoroughly, or else you might miss them.
Aphids attack the new growth, so you will notice stunted growth if your plant has an aphid infestation.
They also release a sticky substance called honeydew that you’ll notice on your arrowhead plant.
Aphids attack the leaves and distort and discolor them.
You will notice yellow and wilted leaves if your Syngonium has an aphid infestation.
Mealybugs are tiny, white, oval-shaped pests that come in various colors.
They have a fluffy look that resembles cotton, and many people confuse them with mildew or fungus.
Similar to aphids, mealybugs also secrete a sticky substance called honeydew after feeding on the sap of your arrowhead plant.
Mealybugs hide on the undersides of leaves, so don’t forget to look there.
Mealybugs cause yellow leaves and stunted growth on your arrowhead plant.
You will also notice falling leaves if your arrowhead plant has a mealybug infestation.
Scales are tiny bugs with a shiny coating that makes it difficult to get rid of them.
Scales resemble tiny bumps on the plants and come in different colors such as gray, brown, black, etc.
Scales are of two types: one has soft scales, and the other has hard scales.
You can use chemical pesticides to kill the scales with a hard cover, but those with soft covers are harder to get rid of.
Scales pierce the stems and foliage of your plant and feed on the sap, making the plant weak and damaged.
Scales also secrete a sticky substance that is hard to remove.
If your arrowhead plant has pests, you will notice yellow leaves, brown spots on leaves, and stunted growth.
Gnats are tiny, dark-colored flies that are usually seen in groups.
Gnats are found in groups, so it becomes easier to spot them.
Gnats mostly develop in the soil and if you can’t spot any, shake the arrowhead plant a little, and you might see them buzzing out of the plant.
Gnats not only bother the plant but also become a nuisance around the house as they tend to fly in the kitchen, windows, or other living spaces.
The larvae of the gnats pierce the roots and create wounds in them.
They also feed on the soil fungi.
How to get rid of bugs on arrowhead plants?
After identifying the bugs, you should find a way to get rid of these bugs as soon as possible.
Bugs spread fast and cause irreversible damage to the plant that can become hard to fix.
Therefore, you should not neglect a plant with pest infestation.
1. Isolate the plant.
Before you start treating the bug infestation in your arrowhead plant, you must isolate the plant to prevent the spread of pests to other houseplants.
2. Prune the infected areas.
It would be better to prune the heavily infested parts of the plant as the infestation can spread from these areas to all the other areas of the plant.
Avoid pruning aggressively, as that can shock the plant.
Since arrowhead plants contain toxic calcium oxalate crystals that can cause skin irritation, you should wear gloves while dealing with the plant.
Also, disinfect the pruners before and after using them on your Syngonium.
Many chemical pesticides are available in the market, but we recommend you opt for organic methods of removing the pests.
Going for the organic pest control methods will neither damage your plant nor the environment.
If the organic methods don’t work, you can use chemical pesticides.
Be careful while choosing the pesticides, as you should select one meant for houseplants and not outdoor plants.
3. Start the treatment.
Let’s look at some easy and organic ways of getting rid of the bugs.
Handpick the pests
If the bugs are visible, you can wear gloves and handpick them.
But most bugs are too tiny, and you have to use other ways to get rid of them.
Use running water
After spotting the bugs, give your arrowhead plant a good wash by placing it under the running water.
Try to remove as many insects as possible and wash the plant a few times if required.
However, don’t overwater the plant and always allow the excess water to drain out of the soil.
If the soil remains soggy, it will lead to other problems such as fungal diseases.
You should use this method during the day so you can let your Syngonium have bright indirect light to allow the soil to dry out.
Continue this for a few days to see an improvement, but you might still need to opt for other ways to remove the bugs permanently.
Use rubbing alcohol
Using rubbing alcohol is an easy way of removing the bugs.
You can use this by mixing:
- 1 part rubbing alcohol
- 3 parts water
Mix these well and apply this all over your arrowhead plant.
It will help get rid of sticky pests and heavy pest infestations.
Use insecticidal soap
Insecticidal soaps had lost their popularity with the arrival of chemical pesticides.
But since people are becoming more aware and trying not to harm the plant and the environment, these are coming back to use.
Insecticidal soaps will work great on arrowhead plants as they are not toxic.
You can prepare insecticidal soap with these steps.
- Add 4 cups of water to a container.
- Add 1 tablespoon of liquid soap to it.
- Mix these well and pour this solution into a spray bottle.
- Shake this very well.
- Spray this once a week on your arrowhead plant.
- You will need to use it more often if the infestation is severe. You can spray it directly on the pests in case of severe infestation.
Use this spray on the plant in medium light and low or average temperatures.
An insecticidal soap solution will affect the bugs by damaging their cell membranes and choking them.
Use neem oil
Using neem oil is one of my favorite ways of getting rid of bugs.
Neem oil is effective and non-toxic and doesn’t damage the environment.
It not only removes pests but also prevents them.
Neem oil affects the hormones of the bugs and prevents their normal functioning.
Bugs fail to eat or mate and eventually die.
Neem oil might not work on bugs with hardcovers such as scales, but it will work on spider mites and mealybugs.
You can prepare a neem oil solution by mixing:
- 1½ teaspoon of neem oil
- 1 liter of water
- 1 teaspoon of dish soap
Adding dish soap will make the solution more effective.
You must spray this solution continuously for a few days all over the plant.
Use horticulture oil
Using horticulture oils can eliminate pests efficiently from your arrowhead plant.
Horticulture oil suffocates the bugs and prevents them from breathing and feeding.
You must apply horticulture oil on your Syngonium every few days to see good results.
Like neem oil, horticulture oil works best on soft-bodied bugs.
Horticulture oil evaporates fast and doesn’t cause any damage to the plant.
However, you should not apply horticulture oil when the temperature is too high or low, and the sunlight is too intense as such conditions can stress the plant.
Avoid using this oil when the humidity is very high as that will not allow the oil to evaporate fast.
You must also avoid fertilizing your arrowhead plant when it has a bug infestation, which can damage the plant.
Use sticky traps
Sticky traps are great for flying bugs like gnats.
You can get a sticky trap from the market or prepare one by adding petroleum jelly on yellow cardboard.
The bugs will get attracted to the yellow color, fly towards it, and get stuck to the jelly.
Although this is not the best way of removing these bugs, it will still help you control them significantly.
Pyrethrin is a gentle botanical treatment that eliminates pests.
If you use this in powder form, you can apply the dust or use it as a spray on your arrowhead plant once every few days.
The pyrethrum paralyzes the bugs and kills the flying pests.
You can use it with another pesticide for the best results.
Use diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth prevents movement in the bugs’ bodies, dehydrates, and kills them.
So, it is a great way of getting rid of bugs on your arrowhead plant.
But, make sure you don’t allow honeybees or butterflies to come near the plant as diatomaceous earth is toxic for them.
Ryania is extracted from a dried stem, and you get it in powder form.
You can dust this on your Syngonium to remove the bugs from it.
However, don’t let your pets come near the plant as it can be harmful to them.
You can use rotenone as it is very toxic for bugs and kills them efficiently.
Therefore, it is used in chemical pesticides as it is not toxic for humans.
Maintain a distance while using it on the plant as it can be harmful otherwise.
Spraying this once a week will help remove the bugs.
If the bugs are rising in numbers, consider using Linalool and Limonene.
These are very toxic to bugs and paralyze and kill them fast.
Tips to prevent bugs on arrowhead plants
We discussed different ways of getting rid of pests.
Now, let’s find out how to prevent them on your arrowhead plant.
- Avoid overwatering your Syngonium and ensure it has a well-drained potting mix and a pot with drainage holes. It will prevent bugs like mealybugs and aphids that thrive in moist environments.
- Don’t keep your arrowhead plant thirsty for too long. Also, provide sufficient humidity by keeping it near a humidifier or grouping it with other plants. It will prevent pests that prefer dry environments, such as spider mites.
- Don’t keep your arrowhead plant in low light conditions, and make sure it gets sufficient indirect bright sunlight.
- Try to keep the leaves of your arrowhead plant clean and dust-free.
- Spray a neem oil solution on your Syngonium once a month to prevent bugs.
- Keep an eye on your arrowhead plant and ensure it is getting the right living conditions because bugs will never attack a healthy arrowhead plant.