Monsteras are sturdy and moisture-loving plants. However, a bug infestation can disturb their functioning and growth. They start by turning their leaves yellow, wilting leaves, yellow spots, deformation of foliage and stems, and destroying the entire plant. Is there a way to keep bugs away from monstera? How can we keep pests at bay?
Monsteras being sturdy plants attract pests only when kept in unwanted conditions for a long time. Overwatering, over-fertilizing, high humidity, and poor ventilation are potential causes of pests attack. They can be attacked by pests through fellow plants too.
Stress is natural in such a situation, but you need to take essential steps to eliminate these pests without wasting much time. So, let’s get right into the details.
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Common bugs in monsteras
Some common bugs that gets attracted towards monstera plant are:
- Fungus Gnats
- Spider mites
Scales are oddly shaped resembling shell-like bumps, grey, black, brown, fuzzy in color.
–Unattached hard covering over their bodies.
–Lives and feeds under this armor.
–Do not secrete honeydew
Soft:-Waxy film secretion, part of their body.
–Flat to spherical in shape.
–Attach to the foliage, stems, twigs
–Eggs hatch over a period of to 3 weeks.
–Young nymphs feed stems, branches, foliage by piercing their mouthparts.
–Young lymphs gradually develop their protective covering as they transform into adults.
These annoying bugs are classic examples of nuisance, making a cloud over the plant.
-Adults are grayish black, dark colored delicate flies.
–Long legs and clear wings.
–Emerge due to overwatering into potting soil.
–Larvae have transparent bodies with shiny black heads.
–Feed on roots, fungi and grow in damp soil.
–Lay about 300 eggs in nutrient-rich moist soil.
–Larvae emerge from eggs within 4-6 days.
–Pupal stages last for 3-4 days.
–Within 3-4 weeks the egg to adult cycle is completed.
–Loss of vigor
–Damage seedlings, young plants, cuttings.
Spider mites are so tiny that you will not be able to see with naked eyes, not only causing issues to the plant but also to the plant owners by hoarding in the home.
–Very tiny little specks reddish brown or pale in color and oval-shaped.
–Classed as close relatives of spiders.
–Immature ones are even smaller.
–Feed plant tissues and fluids
–Found undersides of leaves, spinning their web all over.
–Secrete honeydew attracting ants and promote sooty mold
–Lay eggs in winters and hatch in early spring.
–Molt in shelter as nymphs after a few days of hatching.
–Become adults after further two molting.
–Rapid production and developments in hot dry weather.
–Tiny spots on leaves
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Aphids are so tiny and having needle-like mouths can lead your plant to death. They create big problems.
–Aphids are soft bodies teardrop shapes.
–Vary in color such as green, yellow, brown, red or black.
–Might have wings.
–Have antennae and cornicles.
–Hatch eggs in winter, laid in spring.
–Soon become nymphs.
–Result in a huge population explosion with the repeated process.
–Decline in vigor
Whiteflies are troublesome mostly during spring and summer, and grow rapidly.
–Moths like bugs, powdery wings and translucent.
–White or pale in color.
–Found near stem ends or tops of plants.
–Found undersides of leaves when matured.
–Merge with the color of the leaves they are attached with.
–Lay eggs in cluster undersides of the leaves in late spring.
–Hatch in 5-10 days into nymphs resembling mealy bugs.
–Develop from egg to mature adult within 30 days at a moderate temperature.
–Transmit plant viruses
Common problems that lead to bug infestation
There can be a lot of conditions that leads to bug infestation in monstera. Some of the common problems include:
Pests are usually tiny and need to keep themselves moist to survive. They seek for moist areas, which their six senses help them to find.
When you keep your plant under high humidity consistently, the chances of pest infestation goes up significantly.
If other cultural conditions are not fulfilled, the possibilities increase even more.
Also read: Do monstera like to be misted?
Watering right is an essential factor, but when you frequently water or overwater your monsteras, they get susceptible to bugs.
Overwatering creates a perfect environment in the soil for troublesome bugs. They make the soil soggy as the excess water does not drench completely through the drainage holes.
Monsteras like to be watered when dry. They can still tolerate more watering than needed for some time.
When you water your monsteras before letting them dry every time, there will be soil and root related issues like fungal diseases, root rot and will attract bugs as the problem persists.
Also read: How often should you water your monstera?
Monsteras need proper cultural conditions and good airflow around them to grow and stay healthy. They need to breathe easily without any blockages.
Good airflow helps to dry out the soil, saves from bacterial and fungal growth. Good oxygenating also helps to keep pests at bay.
Grouping plants might disturb the airflow for monsteras.
Also, sometimes pruning is recommended to allow better airflow and light pour at all parts of the plant.
How do you get rid of bugs on monsteras?
Your monsteras need to be rescued as soon as possible but taking the right measures is crucial for complete control.
You must know that you cannot kill every bug on your plant but controlling them is essential. With time and proper care, the remaining bugs will also fly away.
Your monsteras are already weak; it should be handled with proper guidance. There are many chemical techniques to control pests, but nowadays, organic ways are going popular too.
The organic method might take more time than a chemical approach but will not affect your monsteras.
When you have identified your monsteras’ pest issue, isolate them immediately to avoid pests attack on fellow plants. Start with pinching heavily damaged parts.
You can quickly reduce pest numbers by wiping your infected monsteras with a strong stream of water thoroughly. Use your hands to pick stubborn pests for better removal.
Wash during day time so that the water dries out during the day time. Avoid overwatering when washing the plant.
Drain excess water from the drainage holes to save your plant from any bacterial or fungal diseases due to soggy soil.
Repeat this every day for notable restoration.
Horticulture oils are a natural way to get rid of pests. They block the spiracles through which these bugs breathe, leading to their death from asphyxiation.
They interfere with insects’ normal metabolisms, disrupting how they feed and act as a poison for these stubborn pests.
Horticulture oils can be applied to the plant using spray equipment. It needs to be repeated every few days until the problem endures. Use it at about a 2-3 percent dilution.
I personally have used a lot of brands and Bonide- All Seasons Horticultural and Dormant Spray Oil is the one I liked the most.
The toxicity levels of these oils are minimal and quickly evaporate, leaving little or no residue.
They let the plant breathe, treating the pests naturally. Go for light oils written with summer oils on the package. They integrate well with the biological controls.
Horticulture oils should be applied early in the summers or late in the fall to destroy overwintering eggs.
Dont’s:- Some key points to be kept in mind when using horticulture oils to prevent further damage to your plant.
- Don’t apply during scorching sunlight.
- Don’t apply when the temperature levels are too high.
- Don’t spray during cold weather.
- Don’t spray when humidity levels are very high.
- Don’t use over just fertilized plants.
Other vegetable oils such as cottonseed oil, soybean oil can be used as insecticides to control pests.
Cottonseed oil is the most insecticidal of the oils available, and soybean oil gives good control of a few bugs.
Insecticidal soap is a biodegradable organic treatment to control pests.
They penetrate the cuticles of bugs, which dries them out. They suffocate these pests and kill them without harming your monsteras.
Get insecticidal soap from Amazon or make your do-it-yourself insecticidal soap. These sprays are harmless on your plant.
To make the spray:
- Take a spray bottle.
- Pour 1 tbsp of liquid soap (use product without any additives) and a gallon of water in the bottle.
- Shake it well.
- You can also add 1 cup of cooking oil to this solution to enhance your spray’s effectiveness.
- Spray immediately.
- Use the spray once a week for mild infestation.
- Spray every few days for medium infestation and every 2-3 days for severe infestation. Use the spray till the pests are in complete control.
We counsel you to test the homemade spray on a small part of the plant before using it on the whole plant.
Pyrethrin is another potent natural composite coming from dried leaves of daisies. They attack the nervous system of the pests, paralyze them, and then kill them.
The active ingredients of Pyrethrin spray break down quickly when exposed to UV rays within a matter of days, making it environmentally safe.
Spray once every few weeks according to the infestation.
You can do spot spraying for a severe infestation, i.e., spraying directly on the bug’s body for fast results.
You can try Azera Gardening Pyrethrin Spray from amazon.
For mild and medium pests infestation, you can use rubbing alcohol.
Mix 1 part of rubbing alcohol to 3 parts of water and rub them on the pests straight.
It will help you to get rid of sticky pests. If the infestation is severe, better use other methods.
Neem oil extracted from the seeds of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica) effectively works for pest control. Several compounds in neem seeds are proved to be useful as insecticides.
They are mildly toxic to pests, causing bugs to reduce feeding, maturing, interrupting mating, and clogs the breathing system resulting in death.
Spray neem oil all over the plant, especially beneath the leaves where the stubborn insects are hiding. Use organic neem oil for better results and no harm to your plants.
Make a solution by adding one and a half spoon of neem oil and 1 tsp dish soap (without additives) to 1 liter of water.
I personally recommend Organic Neem Bliss, Which I got from amazon. It works like a charm.
It will make the solution more effective in treating pests. Both dish wash and neem oil block the breathing system of insects, resulting in total annihilation.
Apply in indirect sun and avoid applying when the temperature level is too high. Don’t apply to severely stressed or drought-prone plants. Apply once a week till it controls pests.
Use masks to avoid irritation or any side effects.
Diatomaceous earth is a mineral-based insecticide that works excellent on treating pests.
They cut through protective pest shields with their sharp-edged like dust. Diatomaceous guarantees pest removal without harming the plant in any way.
Buy diatomaceous earth from the market readily available and have complete directions given on the package. Wear masks while applying on plants.
Make the dust wettable and cover the infested plant all over in the morning and leave it.
They are safe and natural pesticides, destroy the wax coating of insects, damaging their respiratory system, and killing them.
They can be mixed with dish soap to use as poisons. Spray them all over the plant and on the pests as well.
You can check this Limonene spray on amazon.
Rotenone is an odorless and colorless insecticide, broadly used to treat pests recently.
It biodegrades in the soil quickly and works effectively in high-temperature levels.
They are incredibly toxic to bugs when used as contact poisons.
Use one a week, and while spraying, keep it about 15-20 inches away from the infested plant.
Ryania is extracted from ryania speciosa comes in powder form.
Dust all over the infested plant, and they will do their work by slowly killing the pests.
The pest who flies can be controlled using sticky traps. These are available in the market, or you can make at home by using yellow cardboard and applying any sticky jelly on it.
They are primarily helpful in controlling pests, but you will need other methods for complete eradication.
You can group a few traps in different areas to determine the direction of these pest’s entrances. Compare the number of pests caught on traps to determine the door to their migration.
Tips to prevent bugs in Monsteras?
These tips will help you to keep pests at bay.
- Taking good care of their cultural needs is an essential factor to keep your monsteras healthy and robust. Keep the humidity and temperature moderately high to keep your monsteras healthy.
- Debug and treat your plant when newly bought by inspecting them thoroughly. There might be chances that they have got these guests from the store itself.
- Do not overwater or over-fertilize your plants. This will provide pests more chances to attack your plant. Pests like moisture and nitrogen-rich soil.
- Avoid direct light on your plant for too long.
- Neem oil can also be used as a prevention measure to keep pests away.
- Inspect regularly, take out some time with your plant and pick these bugs, if any, found on your plant regularly.
- Cleaning foliage with a damp cloth will highly prevent pests infestation.
Sources: Common insect pests and diseases.